Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Business

Cupcakes, frozen yogurt shops aim to jump-start faded trend

A few years ago, we couldn't get enough cupcakes and frozen yogurt. Shops were popping up all over the place. Having frosted cupcakes at corporate events was fun and hip. Froyo quickly became a cool, new word.

Today, that obsession has dimmed. No one eats cupcakes or frozen yogurt every day or even every week. Local stores such as the Cupcake Spot in Tampa and Pinkberry, the froyo of Hollywood stars, closed.

But that hasn't stopped a few entrepreneurs from jumping into the market with new concepts.

Sweet Arleen's and Yogurtland — both based in California — are opening stores in the Tampa Bay area. Sweet Arleen's cupcake shop is looking for franchisees. Yogurtland just opened a store in Citrus Park and has plans for several others between here and Orlando.

A banker turned baker, Arleen Scavone founded Sweet Arleen's in Los Angeles in 2009 and is a three-time winner on Food Network's Cupcake Wars. She has one corporate store and eight franchised locations in the works.

Over the next five years, Scavone hopes to open 100 stores in 20 U.S. markets. It's an aggressive goal, but one she believes is obtainable, even amid less appetite for the decadent desserts.

Ask why and she points to the banking industry. For years, there was a bank on every corner. Then the housing market tanked, putting many banks out of business. The strongest remained and, over time, got better.

"We've done the same," she said. "We're very confident in our brand. We got a proven model."

Sweet Arleen's sells about 10,000 cupcakes a week in L.A., a much bigger market than ours with seemingly deeper pockets for gourmet luxuries. It also sells bread pudding, a that isn't as widely available dessert. Regular cupcakes sell for $3.50; minis start at a $1.

By comparison, Gigi's Cupcakes, a top competitor, sells about 6,000 to 7,000 a week at its store in South Tampa, which is considered quite busy. A manager said selling 10,000 might be possible, but it's certainly not the norm.

Despite some cupcake stores closing, Scavone says there's room for a concept focused on taste, quality and customer service.

Jack Suleiman agrees. This month he and his brother, David, opened Yogurtland along Gunn Highway across from the Westfield Citrus Park mall, ironically in an old Pinkberry yogurt shop that went out of business.

Suleiman says Yogurtland has much more to offer than Pinkberry, which also had a location at WestShore Plaza that closed. Yogurtland tastes better, costs less and has more flavors, usually 16 on a given day. Much like at Yogurtology, customers serve themselves and add their own toppings, the latest trend in froyo.

"I know there are a lot of yogurt shops, but the yogurt does make a difference, and with us you'll definitely know the difference," he said, noting that even in a yogurt-heavy place like California, Yogurtland has done well.

Suleiman plans to open eight Yogurtlands in Central Florida, including three in the bay area. One along Ulmerton Road in Largo is owned by another franchisee.

The Citrus Park store celebrates its grand opening May 31 with free yogurt, face painting, balloons and a DJ. Suleiman hopes the event raises awareness of the brand and attracts customers from the nearby mall.

So far, he said a lot of people are surprised to see another yogurt shop in that spot.

Susan Thurston can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 225-3110.

Comments
Tampa Bay businesses feel Red Tide’s sting: ‘Our sales are going to be our lowest ever’

Tampa Bay businesses feel Red Tide’s sting: ‘Our sales are going to be our lowest ever’

TREASURE ISLAND — For the first time during her 15 years bartending at Caddy’s on the Beach, Amanda Hudson had to help close shop early this past weekend because the smell of dead fish coming from the gulf was too putrid to bear."We had to shut down ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Ernest Hooper: HCC helps light the way for those on life's winding paths

Ernest Hooper: HCC helps light the way for those on life's winding paths

After he graduated from a Maryland high school, Rickey Murray had a number of opportunities awaiting him at a number of four-year institutions.He eyed the University of South Florida, applied to Florida International University and considered Virgini...
Published: 09/18/18
Port Tampa Bay building new radiation screening facilities for cargo

Port Tampa Bay building new radiation screening facilities for cargo

TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay moved ahead Tuesday with a $4 million project to build three new radiation screening centers next to berths for containers and refrigerated cargo.The port already has a facility at its main exit where U.S. Customs and Border Pr...
Published: 09/18/18
Maximo Marina, long established on a canal off Boca Ciega Bay, completes a multimillion-dollar renovation

Maximo Marina, long established on a canal off Boca Ciega Bay, completes a multimillion-dollar renovation

ST. PETERSBURG — The $25 million Maximo Marina renovation off Boca Ciega Bay is almost complete, but for a few punch list items.Located in the Skyway Marina District on the city’s southern tip, the facility boasts 212 covered wet slips ...
Published: 09/18/18

Hernando Business Digest for Sept. 21

Briefly EMPLOYERS NEEDED FOR JOB FAIR: Pasco-Hernando State College, CareerSource Pasco Hernando, the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce and Hernando County Office of Economic Development are seeking employers to participate in the Open for...
Published: 09/18/18
Pasco Business Digest for Sept. 21

Pasco Business Digest for Sept. 21

Business digest BrieflyOPEN HOUSE, RIBBON-CUTTING: On Aug. 29, the West Pasco Women’s Wellness & Pregnancy Center, 8125 U.S. 19, Port Richey, celebrated its new facility with an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony. The center provides c...
Published: 09/18/18
Pasco County Tax Collector warns businesses about Marlin Financial

Pasco County Tax Collector warns businesses about Marlin Financial

The Pasco County Tax Collector’s office is issuing a warning to local auto dealers: Beware of Marlin Financial. The office will begin circulating a letter Thursday to auto dealers it does business urging them to "think long and hard" before interacti...
Published: 09/18/18
New Papa John’s ads emphasize ‘this isn’t a single person’s brand’

New Papa John’s ads emphasize ‘this isn’t a single person’s brand’

Associated PressNEW YORK — Papa John’s, which wants to distance itself from founder John Schnatter, is releasing new ads Tuesday that replace him with a diverse group of franchisees. The commercials show several franchisees looking into the camera a...
Published: 09/18/18
Coca-Cannabis? Coke analyzing cannabis in wellness drinks

Coca-Cannabis? Coke analyzing cannabis in wellness drinks

The Coca-Cola Company said Monday it is "closely watching" the expanding use of a cannabis element in drinks, another sign cannabis and cannabis-infused products are getting more acceptance in mainstream culture and a harder look from long-...
Published: 09/18/18
St. Pete condo of Weight Watchers’ Mindy Grossman hits market at nearly $4-million

St. Pete condo of Weight Watchers’ Mindy Grossman hits market at nearly $4-million

ST. PETERSBURG — Mindy Grossman, the former HSN chief who now heads Weight Watchers International, has put her Beach Drive condo on the market at the hefty price of $3.95 million.The three-bedroom, three-and 1/2 bath unit on the 24th floor of Ovation...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/18/18