YOGURT CAFE OPENS IN SAN GABRIEL
by Kevin Smith, SGV Tribune Staff Writer
May 9, 2008
Yogurt lovers rejoice - there's a new kid on the block.
Nubi Yogurt, which launched its first location in Apple Valley in February, will hold a grand opening today for its newest cafe in San Gabriel.
The shop, at 140 W. Valley Blvd., held a soft opening April 26.
Walnut-based Lush Yogurt, which operates under the name Nubi Yogurt, plans to open another shop in Redlands next week and a fourth location in the Bay Area the following week.
Nubi offers a contemporary atmosphere with hip music and free Wi-Fi access. Customers can create their own frozen treats with a choice of 12 flavors of frozen yogurt, fresh fruit and all of their favorite cookie, cereal or candy toppings.
The company touts its treats as creamy tasting with "health-boosting vitamins and minerals and low calorie content."
"So far our stores are all corporate owned, but we are in the process of filing for franchise compliance with the FTC," said Nubi Director Tim Lan. "We have received a few hundred inquiries from people who are looking for a franchise."
Lan said the company plans to open four to six more locations this year and eight to 10 each year thereafter.
An increasing number of yogurt shops have cropped up in California over the past several years, including Pinkberry, which is headquartered in Los Angeles.
"It's very possible that all of this is because of the health and nutritional values of younger people today," said David Fikes, a spokesman for the National Yogurt Association. "And yogurt has been identified by the government as a logical substitute for meat because of its high protein content." Lan agreed that the nation's increasing propensity for a healthier lifestyle has helped fuel the growth of the yogurt industry.
"People are getting more health conscious, and most of our products are nonfat except for one," he said. "Many people come in and use our yogurt for a meal replacement. Before, some of these people would be going to Jamba Juice and those kinds of places."
Lan figures his new business is competitive.
"Pinkberry has brought in a trendy, young environment and we provide that same kind of environment but we have the self-serve concept," he said. "And they only have three flavors and they taste a bit sour."
Nubi, by contrast, offers 12 flavors - including six that are tart and similar to Pinkberry - as well as others that are similar to Golden Spoon's ice cream-tasting yogurt, Lan said.
But comparisons aside, Pinkberry has shown strong growth, according to company spokeswoman Heather Wilson.
"We have more than 50 shops in Southern California and New York," she said. "We opened our first store in 2005 in West Hollywood. We were the first of the new wave of yogurt places."
Wilson said her company's success has been driven in part by the store's overall concept.
"We provide a very unique experience for customers," she said. "We have tangy tasting yogurt (original vanilla, green tea and coffee flavors) and we create an experience with the music and design of our stores."