With fifth store, froyo war grows

Frozen yogurt competition will grow fierce in New Haven, as Pinkberry opens around the corner from Froyo World.
Frozen yogurt competition will grow fierce in New Haven, as Pinkberry opens around the corner from Froyo World. Photo by Henry Ehrenberg.

For New Haven’s frozen yogurt stores, the competition is heating up.

While no definite date has been set, Pinkberry plans to open a store at 1064 Chapel St. sometime in mid-to-late October, according to landlord John Wareck, who owns the property located between Starbucks and Panera and less than half a block from Froyo World. It will be the fifth frozen yogurt joint in downtown New Haven, joining Froyo World, Go Greeley, Polar Delight and Flavors in a competition for the Elm City’s frozen yogurt fans.

Since Froyo World opened at the corner of Chapel and High streets in August 2010, New Haven’s frozen yogurt scene has exploded. Flavors opened on York Street in fall 2011, and May 2013 saw the opening of Go Greenly at 48 Whitney Ave. Polar Delight followed suit in July, opening a location at 940 Chapel St. across the from the New Haven Green.

But whether downtown New Haven can sustain five frozen yogurt establishments remains to be seen, and at least some in the business anticipate fierce competition for market share.

“What I think is going to happen is that the lesser yogurt places are not going to do well. They may go out of business, but we have a loyal following, so I’m not really worried,” said Thienson Nguyen, a manager at Froyo World. “It might be a battle between us and Pinkberry.”

He added that, when other frozen yogurt places have opened in the past, Froyo World has not experienced any business difficulties. He does not expect the opening of Pinkberry only half a block away to change that fact.

“I think we’ll beat Pinkberry,” Nguyen added.

A manager of Polar Delight declined to comment.

Edlyz Ojeda, a shift leader at Go Greenly, said that although she thinks the downtown area can “probably not” support so many frozen yogurt stores, she is not worried about the future of Go Greenly, which is the farthest from the other businesses in its location in the Audubon Arts District across from the Undergraduate Career Services building. Ojeda emphasized Go Greenly’s loyalty card program and the fact that all of its yogurt is gluten free and comes from an organic base as aspects of the business that set it apart from its competitors.

“It’s a healthier alternative than a lot of the other places. We don’t use any sugar,” Ojeda said.

Although Ojeda and Thienson were quick to point out what differentiates their stores from the competition, at least some frozen yogurt customers seemed to disagree.

“Every single Froyo place I’ve been to is the same thing,” said Craig Borkenhagen, an employee at the architecture firm Pelli Clark Pelli who sometimes eats at Froyo World.

Borkenhagen’s coworker, Amrit Pilo, was quick to agree.

“I don’t care where I go to take a break as long as I get to take a break. If it were Pinkberry or [Froyo World], it’s the same thing,” he said.

Froyo World was founded by graduates of the University of Connecticut in 2010.

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