All Up In Your Business: High rent, lease ending drives TCBY out of Chapel Hill


The TCBY at Eastgate shopping center closed Saturday after more than 10 years in business.

Bob Sutton, the franchise owner, said the main reason for the closure was because the 10-year lease had come to an end and rent had gotten too expensive.

“They priced us out of the area and we decided we’re not going to go to the expense of moving all of this equipment,” he said.

It would have cost Sutton $100,000 to move to another location. Sutton said they had several interested buyers over the past two years, but they were not able to come to an agreement with Federal Reality, who owns Eastgate.

The closing of TCBY has been emotional for customers.

“We even had a woman in tears, because it’s been something she’s raised her kids with,” he said. “There hasn’t been anyone that has said anything about I’m glad you’re leaving.”

Over the course of the decade they were in business, TCBY donated over $80,000 to support the local community.

“We feel we’ve taken advantage of giving back to the community and likewise the community has certainly supported us and given back to us,” Sutton said. “We’re very thankful.”

Sutton said he now plans to travel around the country with his wife in their motor home.

“The people of Chapel Hill, the students of UNC, have all been great to us,” he said. “Because of their support of our business, I can plan next spring driving to Alaska.”

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