In recent months and years, West Hollywood’s popular hangout for the best fro-yo, Yogurt Stop, has seen its neighbors (and some competitors) come and go. In 2006, Pinkberry opened its flagship store, which closed in 2009 just six months after Yogurt Stop opened its doors. Businesses from Glazed Doughnuts to Snow LA and Cake Pops made a grand entrance and a quick exit. So what’s the secret behind our sexy local Yogurt Stop, where you can “pump it yourself,” which continues to remain hot after 6 1/2 years and plans to franchise in the very near future? I sat down with owners Marta Knittel and Shoshana Joseph recently over a “Supermodel” mango sorbet to talk about their success and where they are headed.
Why did you want to open a yogurt shop in a saturated market, especially in West Hollywood, when Pinkberry was dominating the market at that time?
Marta: First, I don’t believe it was a saturated market. Pinkberry reignited the yogurt industry, and people got behind the craze. My gut instinct told me that I could compete as long as I had good product foundation, and I’d wanted to open a frozen yogurt store in West Hollywood for 25 years. The impetus was I couldn’t find yogurt I liked coupled with the fact that I always wanted to be my own boss.
What do you contribute to your successful 6 1/2-year run? What are some of the key ingredients?
Marta: We have a superior product — hormone free, antibiotic free and packed with live cultures and probiotics that taste awesome! Our protein yogurt shakes are made with organic, rice-based, vegan and gluten-free protein. We have secret recipes none of the chains can replicate. You can choose from more than 48 toppings — many of which we bake, including banana bread, carrot cake, fudge brownies, red velvet cake and white chocolate chip cookies, and we offer fresh fruit daily. We’ve also created a friendly hangout where you can stay as long as you choose. We want people to feel as if they are in their own home.
How do you come up with the clever flavor names that us locals love? For example:
“Milk My Harvey Chocolate,” “Shake Your Salted Caramel Booty,” “Peanut Butter Princess,” and let’s not forget “Show Me Your Dulce.”
Shoshana: We both love creating and making life a little more fun. Usually one of us will throw out a word, a thought or a name, and then the other usually finishes it or rewrites it. Sometimes the names come to us immediately.
Rumor has it you are going to be franchising. Can you tell us more about your future plans?
Shoshana: Over the years and currently, we’ve had many inquiries about franchising. We are in the process of putting everything together. By the fourth quarter, we anticipate we’ll be offering franchises.
As a married couple that is also in business together, how do you balance home life with work? Any tips?
Marta & Shoshana: We’re best friends as well and love each other’s company 24/7, so balancing home life and work comes naturally. You may call it co-dependent — which makes a sense of humor a requirement. The best part about it is neither one of us ever has to rush home from the office to be with the other. One thing we’ve come to accept is that we have to take our work home with us — since we’re open until 2 a.m. We are 100 percent accessible at all times to our employees. We attempt not to let it consume us, but it goes with the territory of owning a successful business. However, we do take “stay-cations,” whether it’s a two-hour lunch close by or a night away.