Yogurt shop thrives in growing area of Cleveland

Yogurt shop thrives in growing area of Cleveland

September 14th, 2012 by Carey O'Neil in Business Around the Region

Bhumi Patel, left, prepares a waffle bowl with the help of Kaitlyn Ceraolo.

Bhumi Patel, left, prepares a waffle bowl with...

Photo by Carey O'Neil /Times Free Press.

Name: Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt

Location: 615 Paul Huff Parkway, Cleveland, Tenn.

Contact information: 423-790-5719, OrangeLeafYogurt.com

Products/services: Soft-serve fat-free or low-fat frozen yogurt. Orange Leaf serves 16 flavors at a time, rotating through 70 total flavors

Age: Opened Nov. 7

Getting started: Local franchise owner Milan Patel has been involved in the hotel business for a long time, and wanted to try something different. He owned a property on the rapidly-developing Paul Huff Parkway and thought a frozen yogurt shop would fit in great at that spot. "It's something I've always enjoyed, so it's nice to get into the business of something I like and partake in," he said. "I'm a healthy person, and sometimes if I get a sweet tooth and there's a healthy alternative, I'll go for that."

Location first: Before he even considered opening a yogurt shop, Patel picked up the Paul Huff Parkway site. "It's such a cliché, but location, location location," he said "It's ridiculous how true it is. Everything really depends on it."

Target market: Shoppers and diners in the area. Several restaurants and shopping centers have recently opened in the area. Patel hopes to capture some of that market. "It's almost like a mini-Gunbarrel Road," he said.

Biggest reward: Connecting with customers. With hotels, Patel has far less repeated interaction with those using his service. At Orange Leaf, he sees a large number of people. "Everyone's got to eat at some point," he said.

Lesson learned: Customer service is key to being successful both in restaurants and hotels. "You can never underestimate customer service and how important that is," he said.

- If you have an idea for a small business feature, contact reporter Carey O'Neil at coneil@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6525. Follow him at twitter.com/careyoneil.