WILDWOOD — Local fans of Mister Softee ice cream may soon not be hearing the company’s famous jingle on the Boardwalk.
On July 13, Mister Softee Inc. filed a lawsuit in federal court demanding an immediate shutdown of the two locations on the Boardwalk, claiming the franchise’s owner, Carl Gallucci, did not pay his royalty fees in 2016.
Gallucci did not return a request for comment.
The lawsuit states Mister Softee sent two letters to Gallucci notifying him that he owed the company $1,728.54 in royalty fees from 2016. After Gallucci failed to respond both times, Mister Softee canceled its contract for the locations on the Boardwalk and demanded a federal judge shut them down.
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“Because (Gallucci) is no longer affiliated with Mister Softee, Mister Softee has no ability to ensure that the defendant is storing and dispensing his ice cream and other food products in compliance with applicable health standards and laws,” the lawsuit states. “As a result, customers may become ill if the ice cream is not properly stored and dispensed and the stands and equipment are not operated in a sanitary manner.”
The first location at 3118 Boardwalk was opened in 2010 under a 10-year deal with Mister Softee. The second location at 3806 Boardwalk was opened in 2012 with its own contract.
The contracts say Gallucci is obligated to pay $3,500 a year in royalties or 3 percent of his gross sales per year, whichever is greater.
The contract also states that, in the event of a termination, Gallucci must remove all Mister Softee signs, logos, colors, color patterns, menus and insignia from the two locations. He also must return the music box to the company, which operates out of Runemede, Camden County.
As of Friday, both locations still had all their Mister Softee logos displayed and were open for business.
Mister Softee is a family owned business that opened in 1956. The company’s famous jingle, which can be heard at all locations and on its ice cream trucks, was originally composed in 1960.