Friday, February 15, 2013

TCBY Melts Away in East Cobb and Loehmann's Plaza

TCBY has closed at both Loehmann's Plaza and East Cobb Crossing.

TCBY at Loehmann's Plaza near Moe's Southwest Grill reportedly closed about two weeks ago, about the same time as the location in East Cobb.  In East Cobb Crossing, TCBY occupied a landmark freestanding building on Roswell Road.  I'd heard reports last year that a fast food restaurant (that will remain nameless for now) was in talks to take over the space, but that talks had fallen apart.  The closest intown location to remain open is at Fountain Oaks Shopping Center on Roswell Road, just north of Buckhead.

Broomfield, Colorado-based TCBY, a pioneer in the frozen yogurt industry, has struggled to adapt to the change in taste and preferences of today's consumer.  The company began in 1981 with a single location in Little Rock, Arkansas, and today includes some 470 locations around the country. 

Given the popularity of self serve frozen yogurt shops and the fact that the size of most local TCBYs did not allow for self serve units to be added, TCBY may have struggled to compete with the options at other shops. New franchise offerings such as Menchies, and locally grown concepts like Yogli Mogli have found the greatest success in today's frozen yogurt business.  Concepts like Pinkberry that only offer a few options in predetermined weights have not been nearly as popular as the self serve format.

That is not to say that all self serve options will succeed.  In the past few months, Atlanta has seen a number of froyo closures including all three Atlanta area Swirll frozen yogurts, as well as Menchies on West Paces Ferry, and with the more recent closures of Yoforia on Hammond Drive and  in Perimeter Mall.

TCBY has attempted to adapt to today's consumer by making different formats available to its potential and existing franchisees.  Evidently, both the size needed and the cost associated with the upgrades were too much for some franchisees to accept.

I grew up going to the Loehmann's Plaza location and have fond memories of  getting chocolate and vanilla swirl yogurt.  Today I prefer more unusual options like cinnamon graham cracker and blackberry tart.

To its credit, TCBY has done plenty to try and stay relevant.  They updated their brand message, previously  "This Can't Be Yogurt" to "The Country's Best Yogurt"  More recently the company also launched a number of Greek frozen yogurt flavors,     among them honey vanilla.  A bit of a froyo snob myself, I was rather impressed by the company's Greek flavor, and sought it out when I was near a location (I first found it in an airport store in Denver)

Freshëns, the Atlanta-based frozen yogurt shop, has managed to successfully reinvent themselves and has moved away from shopping center locations and prefers malls, airports and colleges.   Similar to TCBY, Freshëns was very popular in the mid 80s through the mid 90s, then lost its mojo.  Many intown locations including Toco Hills and Briarcliff Village near Northlake closed.  Today,  Freshëns can be found on the campuses of Georgia State and Georgia Tech, as well as on multiple concourses of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Freshëns has further expanded their offerings with the recent introduction of fresh made crepes.

What is your favorite froyo?  Do you miss the good ole' days of only chocolate and vanilla?  What could TCBY do as a brand to woo you back?  Share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

My favorite froyo hands down is Pinkberry. I think the self-serve places like Menchie's and Yogli Mogli taste like ice cream. If you want that taste, just eat ice cream. Pinkberry's tart flavor actually is more like regular yogurt. I hope they are doing well in ATL and open a location north of the Perimeter.

TheJohnP said...

One of my first jobs was at that TCBY at Loehmann's Plaza. I was there around the phrase change, which was due to a lawsuit from competitor I Can't Believe It's Yogurt.

Have a lot of fond memories of that place. Of course I don't think I ever set foot in there after I quit.

Anonymous said...

does anyone know what will be going in the East Cobb location?

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