ASHLAND, Ky. — Self-proclaimed ice cream connoisseurs Richard and Shelly Ritchie were constantly exploring how to best satisfy their sweet teeth any time they’d visit a new place.

“We always look for the ice cream place — what’s the best ice cream out there? We’ve tried from gelato to whatever, rolled ice cream, the whole 9 yards,” Shelly Ritchie said.

Their oldest son Andrew and his fiancée’s engagement took the Ritchies to Lebanon, Ohio, where their future daughter in-law, Hannah Huffman, is from. Lebanon happens to house the Whit’s Frozen Custard headquarters.

Whit’s Frozen Custard immediately became the Ritchies’ favorite treat. As a result, Whit’s is coming to Ashland.

“Every time we go to Lebanon, we gotta go to this place called Whit’s,” Shelly Ritchie said. “Then we found ourselves looking for Whit’s everywhere we went. It’s just a completely different product. It’s the creamiest, it’s got a more rich flavor, the texture is different.”

The Ritchies inquired about opening a franchise among the chain organization that features 54 locations across eight states — Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.