NORTH AURORA, Ill.-Oberweis Franchise Systems LLC, said this week that it has awarded three franchisees the rights to open nine Oberweis Ice Cream and Dairy stores in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. In August, Oberweis announced that it would begin franchising its Ice Cream and Dairy stores. Oberweis expects to award 500 franchises, with an initial concentration in seven Midwestern states, during the next five years. Currently, there are 33 company-operated stores in Illinois, northwest Indiana and St. Louis.

Oberweis officials say the company has considered franchising its dairy stores for almost a decade. Oberweis Ice Cream and Dairy Stores feature an old-fashioned soda fountain with glassware and real metal spoons. They also offer take-out purchases of bottled Oberweis milk, pre-packaged ice cream and other food products.