2017-08-11 / Community

Cream of the crop

Moorpark shop wins national award
By Jessica Waite


SWEET AWARD—Doug and Susan Morgan, owners of the Baskin-Robbins in Moorpark, talk about being recently named Operator of the Year for the United States and Canada. The husband-and-wife team bought the ice cream shop on Los Angeles Avenue six years ago. 
RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers SWEET AWARD—Doug and Susan Morgan, owners of the Baskin-Robbins in Moorpark, talk about being recently named Operator of the Year for the United States and Canada. The husband-and-wife team bought the ice cream shop on Los Angeles Avenue six years ago. RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers Running a business can be a rocky road, but the owners of Baskin-Robbins in Moorpark have been having a peach of a time. They were recently named winners of a sweet reward for providing great service with a cherry on top.

Husband and wife Susan and Doug Morgan, owners of the ice cream shop on Los Angeles Avenue, were named Operator of the Year for the United States and Canada in June.

Though the store has been open for 20 years, the Morgans took ownership about six years ago.

“We’ve stood over time. It’s still growing, the business is still growing, so we are thankful to the Moorpark community,” Susan said.

Doug is a general contractor who has built and remodeled Baskin-Robbins locations for the last seventeen years and found out the Moorpark location’s previous owner was planning to shut down. While the former owner thought the ice cream shop was failing due to its location, the Morgans quickly turned the business around, increasing sales by over 50 percent.

“Six years ago it was just going downhill, but now, I feel like we’ve created an environment for the Moorpark community to come and meet up,” Susan said.

By winning Operator of the Year for the southwestern United States earlier the year, the Oxnard residents were placed in the running for the national award from the Massachusetts-based company. The regional award is based on regular in-house reviews, which look at customer satisfaction, cleanliness, adherence to company standards and sales. Out of the last eight company reviews, the Morgans scored a perfect 100 seven times.

The San Diego regional manager had never seen a perfect score before, Doug said. Despite the high praise, however, the Morgans weren’t expecting to win Operator of the Year when they went to the Dunkin’ Brands Franchisee Awards Ceremony in Boston.

“We had been told mostly it takes a few (nominations) before someone actually wins,” Doug said.

Defying their expectations, the Morgans came out on top. The couple attributes the success of the store to their employees and the people of Moorpark.

“For this store to be successful, it had to be kind of a hometown store. We’re not drawing from anywhere else. We’re drawing from Moorpark,” Doug said.

The couple agreed that one of the most rewarding parts of owning the ice cream shop is being a part of the Moorpark community. On the flip side, their biggest challenge is training new employees. For many of the seven employees, working at Baskin- Robbins is their first job.

“I feel challenged to teach these kids how to do a good job, to be responsible, to own up to their roles here,” Susan said.

But the turnover rate is high because many of the young employees eventually move away or head off to college.

An exception to the high employee turnover rate is Maria Luisa Santiago, the store’s cake decorator. She’s been with the Morgans since the beginning, and the Morgans trust her like family.

“(The Morgans) are the most fun. They make this store. They keep it clean and good,” Santiago said.

Customer service has improved and the store has become more fun to work at since the Morgans took over, she said.

“Our motto is: ‘The guests are the most important part of our business,’ so we have to treat them with respect and friendliness,” Susan said.

“When people come here, they’re coming to my house, to our place,” Doug said.

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