Monday, March 28, 2011

Sprock Apparently Sees Big Game in Yogurt Business

It's finally happened! The braintrust that is Raving Brands Big Game Brands is getting into the Frozen Yogurt business. Cowlicks Yogurt & Floats will soon open at Paces Ferry and Cumberland Parkway in Vinings and also at the corner of Peachtree-Dunwoody Road and Hammond Drive in Dunwoody. Oddly enough, each location is a shuttered Planet Smoothie.

Planet Smoothie was started in 1995 in Atlanta by Martin Sprock who went on to also start Moe's Southwest Grill and a number of less popular concepts such as Bonehead's Fish & Piri Piri chicken and Doc Green's Gourmet Salads & Grill. Through a variety of strange and at times litigious moves, Sprock sold off a number of concepts, and recently purchased the rights to franchise two others. In early 2009, both Planet Smoothie and Shane's Rib Shack were sold to private equity firm Edmonds Capital LLC and are operated under the holding company Petrus Brands.

Now, with the frozen yogurt (fro-yo) craze in full swing, Sprock is getting in the game with his Cowlicks Yogurt & Floats concept. A bit odd to offer floats but hey, this is Sprock, the guy that named a Moe's menu item "Ugly Naked Guy" (it's a no longer current name). Atlanta, similar to other metropolitan areas, has been inundated with local and national yogurt shops. Some "weigh and pay" like Yogli Mogli and Menchies, and others "by size" like Pinkberry and Yogurberry.

Interestingly, the Planet Smoothie in the Peach Shopping Center at 2900 Peachtree, a corporate store for the chain, rebranded last year, and now offers self serve frozen yogurt. Once known as simply Planet Smoothie, and later Planet Smoothie Cafe, with light sandwiches and an expanded breakfast menu, the location was re-branded Planet Living last May. Apparently that store has done well, as recently the Planet Smoothie in Ansley Mall re-branded as well and is now Planet Living. (Boardwalk Burgers Fries, California Pizza Kitchen and Panera Bread are all opening soon in Ansley Mall, thus the Planet Living re-brand may be to prevent any other yogurt purveyor from entering the center as it continues to remodel and improve its tenant mix)

Another Planet Smoothie corporate store on West Paces Ferry at Cobb Parkway, which at one time was paired with a Nestle Toll House Cafe, closed and re-opened last year as a Menchies Frozen Yogurt.

A website for Cowlicks just went live within the past week, and a Twitter account was started as well. The Cowlicks Twitter states the concept as follows...

"A fun new neighborhood yogurt and floats cafe. With various yogurt, coke products, fresh fruit, and many other tasty toppings!"

Honestly, I think Sprock is a little late to the game, and may be out of inventive, or for that matter, good, ideas. If the locations were not as good as they are, I might say he'd be in trouble. Vinings would seem to have the upper hand location-wise but oddly enough, both Cowlicks share their shopping centers with Willy's Mexicana Grill, the local burrito joint Sprock unsuccessfully attempted to purchase before starting Moe's.

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Anonymous said...

interesting that CPK is opening at Ansley Mall in midtown .... I remember when they were on 14th st. between the mayfair and 14th street playhouse......They closed sometime in the early 90s..... hopefully they will do well in this new midtown location

Skreet said...

I think that the CPK didn't do well at the Mayfair because of the parking situation.