When Alex Ryabukha pondered starting a self-serve yogurt business, he knew location would be crucial.
Newberry Commons Shopping Center in Newberry Township proved to be the right place, he said.
Ryabukha and his wife, Irina, are wrapping up final renovations on their YoFresh Yogurt Cafe franchise in a 1,700-square-foot storefront. They plan a soft opening the first week of February.
The chain’s self-serve concept is popular with customers, Ryabukha said. Yogurt is sold by the ounce.
“I just fell in love with the concept,” Alex Ryabukha said. “I think it’s a great idea. I think what the customers like is they can control the price because it’s (sold) by amount.”
Ryabukha, of Manchester Township, owns Alexander Auto Group, an auto parts wholesale business in York. His wife is a dental assistant.
They took the final spot in the Newberry Common plaza, which is anchored by Wal-Mart. Ryabukha estimates they have invested $200,000 getting the YoFresh franchise started. That includes a $29,000 franchise fee, which gives the Ryabukhas the option to open a second store.
“We’ll see how it goes for about six months, and we’ll consider opening a second store,” Ryabukha said.
YoFresh offers dozens of flavors of fat-free frozen yogurt, including some nondairy and vegan varieties. Ryabukha said his shop will have six machines surrounded by plenty of toppings, such as fruit, candy and nuts.
Store hours will be 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A mix of about five part-time and two full-time employees will staff the store, Ryabukha said.
Ryabukha said he first tried yogurt about a year ago and was hooked. He called it a “year-round” business, adding that he spoke with franchise owners who are doing strong business, even on the coldest days of the year.
“My wife and I, we go to the yogurt shop about once a week, so we figured we might as well get in the business ourselves,” he said.