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Downtown: Is there room for two frozen yogurt stores on Concord’s Main Street?

Concord hasn’t yet joined the growing number of U.S. cities with self-serve frozen yogurt shops. That’s about to change.

Not one, but two yogurt stores will open this summer on North Main Street: a national chain and an independent shop.

Orange Leaf, an Oklahoma-based company with more than 200 stores in 38 states, will open at 70 N. Main St. The storefront has been vacant since Butter’s Fine Food & Wine moved to Sheep Davis Road last summer. Franchise owners Kristina and Jeff Hathaway of Exeter hope to begin serving yogurt in June.

A few blocks away, Dips Frozen Yogurt will open in May at 138 N. Main St. Owner Nicolas Harriman, a 23-year-old Canterbury native, plans to use local ingredients to build his business.

Both stores will run on the same business model: Customers choose a flavor, serve their own yogurt, add their own toppings and pay according to the weight of their serving.

Owners at both stores said they planned their shops before they knew someone else was doing the same thing down the street.

“We went ahead with our plans and I think we had already signed the lease, and it was just kind of a coincidence that we both decided to do it at the same time,” said Kristina Hathaway, who is opening Orange Leaf.

Harriman, meanwhile, said he had already signed a lease and paid a deposit for his yogurt-making machines when he heard he wasn’t the only one bringing yogurt to Main Street.

“So it’s going to be a little bit of a competition here, but I think we’ll be able to be competitive,” Harriman said.

And, both owners said, they’re committed to becoming part of the Concord community.

Kristina Hathaway said she and her husband don’t have experience in the restaurant or ice cream industries, but they wanted to start a new business together. They found Orange Leaf, and decided to open a franchise. The Concord location will be their first yogurt shop, but they hope to expand in the future. Hathaway said she was drawn to Concord due to the upcoming Main Street redesign project.

“So we felt like the city’s putting this big investment into the downtown to bring more traffic and more business,” she said. “And we

felt like this would be a great time for us to come in with bringing in a new business.”

Hathaway said she researched other frozen yogurt franchises before settling on Orange Leaf. Her shop will become the company’s fifth location in New Hampshire. Before it opens in June, they’ll renovate the building’s interior.

At Dips, Harriman is already renovating his storefront and ordering supplies. He plans to use dairy from Contoocook Creamery, Stonyfield Yogurt and fruit toppings from New Hampshire farms.

“I don’t want to be put out of business, and I don’t want to put (someone else) out of business,” Harriman said. “I hope that Concord can support two, but we’ll find out.”

Impact of the arts

A recent study showed that arts and culture brought $17.7 million to the Concord area economy in 2010. Inspired by those results, the Concord Community Music School decided to conduct an informal study of its own.

The school’s mandolin festival, held for three days last month, brought visitors to Concord from nine different states, Canada and France, said Peggy Senter, the school’s president.

Those 50 participants paid for 29 hotel rooms and at least 220 meals at 14 different restaurants in Concord that weekend, Senter said. She asked her guests to keep track of their meals on a large poster board at the music school. “So that’s where it gets really anecdotal,” she said.

One night that weekend, Senter went to dinner at Siam Orchid on North Main Street and counted 25 people who were there because they were attending the mandolin festival.

The larger study about the impact of the arts in New Hampshire was conducted by Americans for the Arts. The Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce commissioned a study focused only on the Concord area. Its calculation of $17.7 million in fiscal year 2010 is based on jobs, spending for arts events and related transportation, lodging, meals and shopping.

Senter, who is a board member of the chamber of commerce and a member of its Creative Concord committee, said the mandolin festival’s informal survey simply proves that the arts do bring substantial business to Concord.

“What we’ve been talking about a lot at the chamber level, and at Creative Concord, is attracting tourists to downtown Concord,” she said. “And I think there’s the scenario where somebody’s driving by on their way to see and they stop by for dinner once, but there’s also this kind of immersion scenario . . . and they’re here for three days.”

Wonder Made moves on

Wonder Made is closing its shop on Warren Street.

But that doesn’t mean the arts collective will stop helping local artists “survive off their craft,” said Laura Loci, one of the founders. She and the 100 member artists will continue selling handmade goods online, and they’re working on other plans.

“We started as an artist collective – the storefront wasn’t our goal or our endpoint,” Loci said. “It’s more about community organizing and trying to meet needs.”

The shop opened last year to sell handmade goods. It will remain open until April 13 and return to downtown during the annual Market Days festival this summer.

Loci said the collective’s idealism – including its commitment to not raise prices or charge membership fees – made it difficult to keep a store open.

“We decided to close the storefront, so this part of the long-term vision might be over for now,” she said.

Backside brainstorming

Want to weigh in on how to improve the view of Concord’s backside?

The group seeking to make the city appear more attractive from Interstate 93 will hold a May 1 brainstorming event.

Concord’s New Front Door, a group formed by the Creative Concord committee of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce, is holding a charrette to launch its initiative. They’re inviting residents to brainstorm ideas to make the backside of downtown buildings more attractive, and the ideas could include lighting displays, landscaping or murals – though no decisions have been made.

“(We will) try to record as many ideas as we can,” said architect Chris Carley, who is leading the Concord’s New Front Door effort. “We’re not going to shoot anything down at this point.”

Carley said the charrette will include presentations about the area between I-93 and Main Street. Participants will then split into small groups and use aerial photographs and other images to develop ideas.

The charrette, at the Grappone Conference Center, begins at 6:30 p.m. May 1.

Flamenco and fundraising

A flamenco band is coming to Concord, to raise money for the second annual Granite State Music Festival.

The Juanito Pascual New Flamenco Trio will play at Red River Theatres on Friday.

The trio includes guitarist Juanito Pascual, percussionist Tupac Mantilla and bassist Brad Barrett.

“Fusing their distinct musical backgrounds with a palpable personal chemistry, the trio has created a distinctive and exhilarating sound,” the music festival said in a press release.

The Granite State Music Festival was held for the first time last summer at Kiwanis Waterfront Park. It will return for two days of live, local music this year, June 22-23.

The fundraising flamenco concert begins at 7 p.m. Friday. Admission is $25, and $15 for students and music festival sponsors. For more information, call 229-2157.

Spotlight on South Main

A speech from the governor and a hard hat tour will highlight South Main Street’s redevelopment tomorrow.

The state’s Community Development Finance Authority is planning events throughout the state to celebrate national community development week.

Tomorrow morning, they’ll highlight developer Steve Duprey’s building at the former site of the New Hampshire Bindery. Duprey used benefits provided by the CDFA for the new building, which is expected to open this summer.

Gov. Maggie Hassan will speak at the construction site tomorrow, followed by a hard hat tour, according to a release from the CDFA. The event begins at 11:15 a.m. at 47 S. Main St.

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

Legacy Comments14

Gone With the Wind, I love it that you love it. Find one, that is not a loss leader.

Ok. But first we need to establish what the "loss leaders" are so I don't choose one. My guess is that you believe any food stuff or produce item I identify with a lower price will be a "loss leader". So my question to you is, can you give me a list of Walmarts "loss leaders" prior to me finding a lower price item that you will then claim is a "loss leader"???

Hey, if you like Walmart and don't mind paying more for less more power to ya. Another fun thing you can do while there is try to find in their hard goods something that is not made in China. Walmart needs people like you that don't comparison shop. ps a "loss leader" is an item they advertise. Don't know much about retail do you?

Now tille, I backed you up on this at first but now you are being a big absurd. FYI, 60% of the products at Wal-Mart are products manufactured in the USA. However, that computer you are using, the iPad, your phone, etc. are 99% manufactured in China. Yes, Wal-Mart offers loss leaders just as LL Bean offers loss leaders (PS-some things there are manufactured in China as well). I purchased American made jeans in California for $75, that is the cost when you make something here. I also purchased jeans for $19 at Kohls. There is not a bit of quality difference. Market Basket is the leader in "loss leaders", their specials trump anyone's in the area.

The proof is in the pudding as far as what stores make it and which ones do not. Market Basket will always have a following based on their prices, as will stores like WalMart and Target. Those stores know what income levels they cater to. And they know where to locate. Main Street has had a lot of stores come and go. These two Yogurt stores will compete against each other and the best tasting one will win. That is why Dunkin Donuts does so well. There is a target group out there that likes their coffee kind of on the mild side. It is a lovely thought to hope folks would buy American Products and local products. Those products are expensive, and folks on low incomes cannot afford them.

TRICKLE DOWN THEORY WORKS...that should be the headline to the artsy group proving that trickle down opposed to the Obama trickle up theory that has crippled the economy

Yogurt, better still self serve yogurt. Yes, yogurt is on the way back after about a 15-20 year hiatus. I travel a lot and constantly am looking for a yogurt store. Back in the TCBY days, you had less choice and it really did not taste like ice cream; today it is like soft serve ice cream but much more healthy than that soft serve and if the store is large enough gives you anywhere from 12-30 flavors (twist of same machine flavors included). Unfortunately, there are many franchisors out there cleaning up on what is probably a return of the yogurt niche which is destined to go on hiatus again. I estimate that this trend will last about 2-3 more years. The best competitors will win out and there will be very few stores left. Now, the franchise has the best chance of survival due to the professional nature of the marketing, overall appeal, etc. But, overall success will depend on several key factors. Speed of service, customer service, cleanliness and sanitation, choice of flavors and most of all management. If the owners are on premises, they will be successful; if the owners farm out shifts to teenagers to manage their stores, they will certainly fail. Neither operation will be able to afford a full time manager with margins so tight and low sales volumes. Ownership launching each unit and manning it until they are able to both afford and bring in extra help will be critical. The one mistake that any franchisee or entrepreneur makes when opening a business is to easily cut back their involvement too soon.

i would suport the indapendant frozen yogart shop that is willing to use local goods for his shop and not the chain where they won't be using local goods we need to take care of our own first.

Nice thought gearhead, but the fact is that folks support the business with the lowest price. That is pretty evident when youy look at downtown Main Street shops. Folks flock to Loudon Road for lower costs, that is why Walmart does so well. They provide everything cheaper. I am a huge supporter of local business. But I can afford to be. Folks shop according to their budgets.

Excuse me, Mr Rabbit, but have you actually shopped at Walmart? They might have a few loss leaders that are cheaper but none of their produce or food stuffs are cheaper than Market Basket. Their customer service stinks because their employees are unhappy and be prepared for a long line if you want to return anything. I don't really know why people keep going back there. Maybe it is because they are led to believe it is cheaper. Dunkin Donuts definitely doesn't have the cheapest coffee in town, but it is always busy. People shop where they are used to shopping . Old habits die hard.

"none of their produce or food stuffs are cheaper than Market Basket. " I love when people talk in absolutes. So all I have to do is find one produce or food stuff cheaper to prove you wrong. It's almost too easy.

It's Miss Rabbit If Your Nasty.

"Want to weigh in on how to improve the view of Concord’s backside?" Yes!!! A 14 foot high wall the length of it would do nicely.

Took the words right out of my mouth. Don't forget the scrap yard on the other side, now that is a beauty. Some of the equipment has been sitting there since the 1970's, just a bit rustier.

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