August 21st, 2011 | Uncategorized

Students bring greens to High Street with Little Salad Shop

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Photo by James Lu.

A new, student-run health food shop is set to open this week as summer-soaked Yalies flock back to the Elm City.

With a grand opening slated for Aug. 26 after a soft opening over the weekend, the Little Salad Shop at 45 High St. will stock customizable salads and smoothies and snacks as it seeks to appeal to New Haven residents looking for healthy and affordable eating options. While a sluggish economy generally makes it more difficult to get start-up funding, it also means cheaper real estate and more opportunities to expand, said Tiffany Ho ’12, who co-founded the shop with Jerry Choinski ’12 and Etkin Tekin ’12, all of whom used their their own funds.

“We want to encourage Americans – not the ones you see on TV, not the ones in movies, but the everyday Americans (us!) – to eat just a little bit healthier by offering better and more affordable dining options,” Ho said in an e-mail to the News.

The idea behind the Little Salad Shop came from Choinski and Tekin, who lived off-campus last year and turned to “unhealthy take out every day” because of the lack of quick, well-priced, healthy food options, she explained. The three founders – all of whom have been Yale Entrepreneurial Institute summer fellows – put together all aspects of the store this past summer, from creating menus to building the storefront, she added.

Construction of the store began at the 45 High St. site shortly after the July 22 closure of High Street Burger, she said. The Little Salad Shop will be the third shop at that address in the past year — The Liberry, a frozen yogurt store, shuttered last September after Froyo World opened across the street, and was quickly replaced by High Street Burger.

When the Little Salad Shop opens, it will boast a menu completely unlike its predecessor at the site, which offered five burger and hot dog varieties with baked potatoes, shakes, or custard on the side. While vegetarian salads such as “The Light & Fresh” will go for $7 with tax, salads with meat such as “The Barbarian” will sell for $8 and smoothies will start at $3. The store will open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, though Ho added that hours will “definitely be expanding to breakfast eventually.”

On Sunday, the Little Salad Shop handed out smoothie samples on Old Campus as part of its soft launch, which Ho said would help “iron out the kinks” in preparation for a full opening during Camp Yale. Chris Murphy ’12 tweeted his review: “Just got a smoothie from @LittleSaladShop delicious awesome job guys!”

The store’s rollout comes even as U.S. small business indicators continue to flag. The National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Optimism index fell for the fifth straight month in July, with respondents pointing to expectations of weaker sales and continued tough business conditions in the next six months.

Still, the Little Salad Shop is not the only new business expected to open as Yalies return. O’Toole’s Irish Pub is aiming for a pre-Labor Day opening at Pitkin Plaza on Orange St., owner Colin O’Toole told the New Haven Independent.

Business activity in the Elm City has seen an uptick in recent years, New Haven Economic Development Administrator Kelly Murphy said in April. For two years in a row New Haven has seen its taxable property grow by 3 percent — the largest growth in taxable property of any city in Connecticut.