When Pinkberry opens on Chapel Street next week, it will become the fifth frozen yogurt shop within a one-mile radius of the New Haven Green.
The Santa Monica-based frozen yogurt shop plans to open on April 11 at 1064 Chapel St. Positioned between Panera Bread and Starbucks, the property is just around the corner from Froyo World and within walking distance of New Haven’s three other frozen yogurt shops, which have cropped up over the past three years.
After Froyo World’s opening on High Street in August 2010, Flavors opened on York Street next to Toad’s Place in the fall of 2011. Two years later, Go Greenly opened at 48 Whitney Ave. and Polar Delight opened across from the Green at 940 Chapel St.
Despite the steep competition, Pinkberry franchise owner Jamie Karson is confident his shop will thrive.
“It was our product that launched the industry,” Karson said. “We think that our yogurt is the best that there is, and as we go forward, we will be launching new products and new flavors that we don’t think anybody has ever tasted.”
The frozen yogurt shop was originally set to open last October, but Pinkberry delayed the store opening because the company was working to launch several other locations simultaneously, according to landlord John Wareck. He added that the space had previously been occupied by Savitt Jewelers and that Pinkberry expressed interest in the property soon after Savitt Jewelers shut down in the summer of 2012.
Karson, who is the former CEO of the footwear company Steve Madden Ltd., first brought Pinkberry to Connecticut after he tasted the frozen yogurt during a family vacation in Beverly Hills, California. Karson said the taste was “so extraordinary that it had to come to Connecticut.”
Since trying the yogurt back in 2009, Karson has opened three branches across CT — in Fairfield, Greenwich, and Westport. After opening the New Haven location next week, he plans to launch another at the Darien rest stop off of I-95 North.
Unlike Flavors, Froyo World and Polar Delight, which are self-serve joints that charge by weight, Pinkberry is full-service and charges based on the size of the cup, Karson said. Prices at the Pinkberry shops already established in CT range from $5.25 to $7.25 based on size.
Froyo World manager Thienson Nguyen said customers can get more bang for their buck at Froyo World, where the yogurt costs 49 cents per ounce. He expressed confidence that his shop will maintain its popularity.
“I think some people will try out [Pinkberry], but in the long-run we will keep our customers,” he said. “Other froyo shops have opened after us, but we have remained on top.”
Jay Lee, a cashier at Polar Delight, also expressed confidence in his own workplace, calling Polar Delight a “different business.”
Pinkberry will offer eight of its 26 possible flavors at its New Haven location.