A Richmond native is coming out of retirement to serve up frozen yogurt like it’s 1989.
Les Davis and his wife, Claudia, are getting ready to open a TCBY franchise on West Broad Street near Gaskins Road. It will be the only TCBY in the Richmond market and the brand’s only franchise within 150 miles.
TCBY was responsible for the wave of frozen yogurt that struck America in the 1980s and for years was the best-known national fro-yo brand.
Davis, 70, said he feels good about reintroducing Richmond and TCBY because it’s an established brand and because the location is a storefront at 9468 W. Broad St.
“We’re going to be one of the only frozen yogurt shops in town with frontage and signage on West Broad Street. We’re 20 yards off it,” Davis said. “If you drive up and down the corridor, you just won’t see any. There’s a Baskin-Robbins, but that’s it. There are plenty of small frozen yogurt stores tucked away in shopping centers and behind malls, but none out front. I think with this location you could probably put any product in there and it would be successful.”
Davis said the 1,000-square-foot shop will have about 50 seats and a patio and will employ about six people full time and several more part-timers. He’s shooting for a Nov. 1 open. The Shockoe Company brokered the deal for Davis.
Davis retired in the early 2000s after selling his company, Focus Packaging, which produced the packaging for products such as Irish Spring soap and Crest and Colgate toothpaste.
“I just got tired of being retired,” he said.
Davis was introduced to the TCBY brand when he was living in Kansas City, where one of his factories was located.
“It was my daughter,” he said. “She was the first one to say, ‘Dad, let’s go to TCBY.’ I can’t count the number of times we went there.”
Davis said his favorite fro-yo flavor is red velvet cake with chocolate-covered raisins.
TCBY, founded in Arkansas in 1981, was sold in 2000 to a Connecticut-based investment firm called Capricorn Investors, which also owns Mrs. Fields cookies.
Davis said the capital investors have made a positive impact on the brand and that TCBY is selling franchises. It has more than 400 locations nationwide.
And it isn’t the TCBY you might remember: You’ll get to serve yourself.
The new wave of frozen yogurt shops, led locally by Sweet Frog, are all self-service, meaning patrons can take as much frozen yogurt and toppings as they can fit in a bowl then pay by the ounce.
Raven Williams, development director for Sweet Frog, told BizSense in April that the average annual revenue for a Sweet Frog location is between $500,000 and $1.5 million.
A dozen frozen yogurt brands have hopped on the wagon and opened more than twenty locations in the Richmond market in recent years.
Also coming to Richmond is Menchies, a California-based frozen yogurt company that is opening a store in Short Pump. Yapple Yogurt is also expanding, recently opening a new store in Willow Lawn. You can read about that here.
Enough with the frozen yougurt! Long live ice cream!
this too shall pass!