“We have to open a yogurt shop, it’s the craze in California. Now is the time to bring it to Colorado.” This is how the story starts for now successful business owners Nic Grzecka and sisters Liz Johnson and Amanda Ralston. Realistically, the dreams of an entrepreneur aren’t fulfilled overnight. This is a story of dream that was.
Within one day, the Grzecka’s had an idea, researched their plan and looked for locations for their first store. Shortly thereafter, they purchased their store location off of North Powers. Having expertise in Real Estate, Nic knew they needed more money. He had heard of the SBDC and made an appointment to meet with Robin Roberts, SBDC consultant and President of a local bank. The great benefit of seeking advice from an expert is that you’ll get the truth. Nic left the SBDC consulting session feeling somewhat discouraged about traditional funding yet energized about the options that might be available. “Robin helped us realize that we had a legitimate dream and it was important to the SBDC to help us achieve that dream. Not only did she say it was legitimate, but that it was obtainable. She guided us and provided us with tools to make the best decision for us at the time”. After some further research, Nic was able to obtain a line of credit from a local bank to cover the cost of equipment.
While the Grzecka family knew that the yogurt shop was now or never, an unexpected turn of events occurred. Two weeks after their meeting, they received a call that their father had cancer. The entire family left to Georgia to support their father for thirteen weeks, all the while building their store in Colorado Springs. Upon their return, the realized that even suppliers in Colorado did not know about frozen yogurt. “They thought we were crazy” said Nic reflecting. But at this point, the Grzecka’s were deep into their plans with each partner putting in cash and extending their personal lines of credit to cover consultant fees, a lease, and product costs.
With hard work, determination, and the support of friends who were now also staff, YoYogurt opened their doors on March 21, 2011. The first customers walked in as the fire marshal left, and staff members were being trained on how to use the machines.
Nic and his sisters didn’t know why they had a line out the door on their first day. They ran no ads in the paper, on T.V. or radio. Now after having four successful stores and three more opening soon, they know it was about their strategy. Innovative and consistent promotions via social media, a simple but perfect logo, strategizing to be unique and true to the brand, and providing a family atmosphere, were essential to YoYogurt’s success.
YoYogurt is now able to share their success by helping to build the local community through fundraising and creating an environment for families. Each Wednesday, all store locations support a community organization and give 5% of all revenue to the supported group. Past groups include the Relay for Life, sponsorship of D-11 school aerospace projects, and Urban Peak.
Each grand opening has been on a family birthday including their 2nd store in which their father was able to attend in June of 2011. The Grzecka family plans to have many more grand openings with birthday celebrations in the years to come.
If you’d like a taste of YoYogurt and their new line of YoCupcakes you can find the location nearest you by visiting www.yoyogurtusa.com.