Facing a saturated frozen yogurt market in Northern Virginia, an Ashburn couple is hoping the Richmond market is a little less frothy.
Jodie and Carl Brendlinger plan to open a Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt franchise this month at 4501 S. Laburnum Ave. in White Oak Village. The couple signed a 10-year lease in August for about 1,300 square feet.
This is the first business venture for the couple. Carl Brendlinger, 50, works as a government contractor. Jodie Brendlinger, 46, has worked as a dental hygienist for the past 20 years and will continue to work a part-time.
“Menchie’s makes people smile,” Jodie Brendlinger said. “Being in dentistry, I’ve been making people smile for 20 years.”
Menchie’s is an Encino, Calif.-based frozen yogurt company founded in 2007. It has about 350 locations around the world, including spots at the Shoppes at Westgate near Short Pump and at the Rutland Commons in Mechanicsville.
The Brendlingers face their share of competition. Carytown’s Yapple Yogurt reopened in November, and Richmond-based Sweet Frog recently launched its 300th location.
Still, launching a frozen yogurt shop in Northern Virginia might have been an even taller order. By her last count, there are 13 frozen yogurt shops within an eight-mile radius of her Ashburn home, Brendlinger said.
She would not say how much it cost to launch the Menchie’s at White Oak Village but said she and her husband are using loans and personal savings to finance the effort. The average startup cost for a Menchie’s franchise is $310,000, according to the company’s website.
They have hired 15 part-time employees, including eight Varina High School students.
Construction on the space began in October, and the Brendlingers hired Adam Pillsbury of UrbanBuilt Construction to do the work.
The duo is already thinking about expanding.
“We plan on opening two more Menchie’s,” Brendlinger said. “If we could find another A+ location in Richmond, that would be great.”
Hoping the Richmond market isn’t saturated is a sure sign of a lack of research. Froyo shops are closing left and right around Richmond, why open another?
I agree with no more froyo….when I read this headline my first thought was, “REALLY??” ANOTHER FroYo in Richmond? I think Richmond is “just as frothy” as NoVA.
Lots of Fro Yo already, but nothing even close to saturation in places like Fl and CA. It’s becoming a local store dynamic and Menchies is top notch, private label stuff that will probably have a strong appeal to a large segment.
As a Business Broker I see business oppoortunities of all shape and form every day. I just don’t understand why a first time buyer would sink (literally) $300K in a start up franchise, especially one in a market that has already over saturated with frozen yogurt when they could by a seasoned business, a seasoned franchise that has real numbers on the books, is cash flowing and isn’t starting from ground zero.
I hope they make it work but I suspect the next 9-12 months are going to be hairy/scary ones.
This is without a doubt the wrong time of the year to open a yogurt shop, or an ice cream shop.
You can have the best product , in the best location, but sales will be low compared to opening in late March.