Peggy Heldstab owns the Junction City, Kansas, location of the worldwide ice cream chain, which has over 2,500 stores across the United States. Like a lot of small business owners, Heldstab has been concerned about her business's bottom line, as well as the livelihoods of her employees, due to social distancing restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.
As a joke, her son suggested putting up the sign after he and his wife watched the popular Netflix documentary Tiger King. Heldstab had never seen the show.
Nevertheless, after her son promised that the sign would get a good reaction, she went ahead and put it up. As it turns out, her son wasn't wrong as business started booming within hours of the sign going up.Between carryout orders and DoorDash (delivery) orders, which are all that's allowed right now due to social distancing, Heldstab says that business doubled in the day after she put up the sign. What's more, passersby have been honking their horns as they drive past.
Heldstab says that she hasn't heard a word from Baskin-Robbins headquarters about the sign or the uptick in business, but she notes that, as the franchise owner, she's able to make decisions about her signs independently.In the unlikely event that Carole Baskin herself drops by Junction City (she's based in Florida, over a thousand miles away, so it's probably not going to happen), Heldstab says that she'll gladly give her a free ice cream cone.
And as for the show that inspired the sign, which Heldstab had never seen, she says she's now "a few episodes" into the popular Netflix show.
Baskin-Robbins was founded in 1945 by brothers-in-law Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins in Glendale, California. Burt, who shares a name with Carole Baskin, had two children and died in 1967 in Southern California.
Carole Baskin was born in 1961 in Texas. In this YouTube video, Baskin says her father was a cameraman, whom she did identify by name. It remains unclear if there is any familial connection to Carole Baskin's family and Burt Baskin's, but as of this writing, there is no evidence to suggest there is.
Carole has become a household name in recent months due to her role in the Netflix documentary, as well as the fact that her second husband disappeared under mysterious circumstances. She is not now nor has never been a suspect in his death or disappearance.