YoLo recently finalized a deal to open up a shop on the University of Memphis campus, marking its 11th location in less than two years.
YoLo, which stands for Yogurt Local, will have two self-serve frozen yogurt, or froyo, machines inside the on-campus Bookstore Cafe, allowing four flavor offerings at any given time. About a dozen different types of toppings will be available to choose from as well, so all in all this is the first “mini-YoLo.”
“It’s right in the middle of campus,” said YoLo partner Taylor Berger. “We’re essentially putting two machines into their existing space. They probably have 1,500 square feet, and we’re not really taking up an additional space then what they have. We’re just putting our equipment in and then stocking that as well as the toppings bar. So the self-serve concept will be there, just on a smaller scale than we usually do.”
In addition to froyo and toppings, YoLo will also offer fresh baked goodies from YoLo Bakes and will likely end up selling its Midtown-made gelato by the pint.
The deal was unique in that there was no lease or real estate brokerage involved. It’s more of a partnership, Berger said.
“I guess you could say I’m loaning the equipment to them,” he said. “I’m essentially selling them the product too. It’s kind of a unique deal.”
What’s more, the U of M Bookstore Cafe is the only non-Aramark food vendor on campus, said manager Donna Collier, meaning students’ “Dining Dollars” and “Tiger Funds” are welcomed as they take a break from classes to study, gather with friends or use Wi-Fi.
“We already have a little café here and do sandwiches, quesadillas and salads, so the yogurt piece is just going to be one more thing that students can utilize their dining dollars for,” Collier said, adding that the Bookstore is managed by Follett Higher Education Group. “We were just looking for some other product that we could bring in that would increase foot traffic and just be another service for students. We looked around at some local businesses, YoLo came up, I dropped them an email and the rest is history.”
Berger, who went to the University of Memphis Cecil C Humphreys School of Law, is shooting for a Monday, March 12, opening – the first day back from Spring Break.
This new “mini YoLo” will make the sixth location in the Memphis metro area. Other locations include three in North Carolina, one in Jackson, Tenn., and one in Kentucky.
But by the end of the year, Berger is planning to expand the portfolio of his booming self-serve froyo empire even further.
“We’re working on several deals, a mixture of things in Memphis and outside of Memphis,” Berger said. “But since nothing’s closed, I’m not going to say what they are. If all goes as planned … they’ll be, including this, five more YoLos by the end of 2012.”