After serving customers for only six months, Pinkberry on Chapel St. stands vacant.
Although Pinkberry management has not confirmed that the frozen yogurt shop has closed, several local store owners and New Haven residents speculated that the frozen yogurt shop has gone out of business. Thienson Nguyen, who manages FroyoWorld just down the street from Pinkberry, said the Pinkberry has been empty since Sunday at least.
Pinkberry manager Jamie Karson could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. The Pinkberry corporate office also did not respond to a request for comment about the status of the New Haven location.
The store first came to the Elm City this April, becoming the fifth frozen yogurt shop within a one mile radius of Yale’s campus.
Starbucks shift manager Chris Walker said that the store has been closing at odd hours of the day starting about two weeks ago, when he noticed that the store was closed as he left work at 6 p.m.
“It has been closed in the middle of the day. It also never looked busy,” Walker said. “If they’re closed, it’s because they’re out of business”
Why Pinkberry’s doors have stayed closed in recent weeks is unclear.
Several business managers and students speculated that the store closed due to a lack of business. With four other frozen yogurt shops already established in the area, it does not make sense from an economic standpoint to open another shop in New Haven, said Jenna Li ‘15.
Froyo World became the first frozen yogurt shop in New Haven when it opened on High Street in August 2010. Flavors opened on York Street soon after in the fall of 2011, and two years later, both Go Greenly and Polar Delight opened.
Li proposed that both the location and the large size of Pinkberry were unfavorable to generating revenue.
“What doesn’t make sense to me is that it’s right next to FroyoWorld,” Li said. “And they rent such a huge space, I don’t see how they could be getting enough revenue from frozen yogurt to afford that.”
Nguyen conjectured that the store’s relatively high prices likely limited their profits.
Unlike its local competitors such as Flavors, Froyo World and Polar Delight, which are self-serve, Pinkberry charges based on the size of the cup. Whereas the yogurt costs 49 cents per ounce at Froyo World, Pinkberry charged roughly five to seven dollars per cup, customers said.
Kendall Borden, a Claire’s Corner Copia employee, said she stopped eating at Pinkberry because she thought it was too overpriced.
“It’s six bucks for a small if I want toppings on it,” she said, adding that the fact that she could not choose her own toppings at Pinkberry made the shop less attractive than its nearby competitors.
Walker, who worked at the Starbucks next door to Pinkberry, said that several encounters with Pinkberry employees gave him the impression that the store was under poor management.
He noted that the Pinkberry manager often sent employees to Starbucks in order to borrow supplies such as receipt paper and pastry gloves.
“I can understand if you’re a local … but this is an established corporation,” he said. “Also, one time their manager came over and asked if we would give their employees free coffee in exchange for free frozen yogurt. My suspicion is that their manager just wasn’t qualified.”
Pinkberry currently has six other locations in Connecticut.