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Plymouth's Frozen Yogurt Market Heats Up

Yogurt Palooza owners say they're disappointed that competitor is moving across the street.

Downtown Plymouth is expected to get another self-serve frozen yogurt store — directly across the street from the one already there, Yogurt Palooza on Main Street near Ann Arbor Trail. 

Yummie Yogurt, a family-owned business based in Farmington Hills, will open at the multi-story restaurant and retail building on the southeast corner of Main Street and Ann Arbor Trail, the former site of a long-vacant gas station.

Yummie Yogurt features an ever-changing menu of flavors, self-serve toppings and a pay-by-the-ounce policy, which mirrors Yogurt Palooza's business model.

Chris Tomei and Craig Turk, co-owners of Yogurt Palooza, said they learned Yummie Yogurt was coming to Plymouth when the sign went up in the building.

Yummie Yogurt owner Tony Nguyen said the shop is planned to open by the end of March. He said that because of the food court style of the building, the other establishments, like Mexican restaurant Las Cazuelas Grill, will open together.

Tomei said he spoke to the Plymouth Community Chamber of Commerce and the DDA about his concerns.

"They sympathized with us," he said.

But Turk said he was disappointed that Yummie Yogurt would decide to open across the street, the landlord would lease a place for that purpose and the city does not have rules to prevent this.

"It's bad economics and it's bad ethics," Tomei said.

He said it doesn't make sense for either business because both would struggle. Turk agreed and said the city needs diverse establishments.

"We're not coming in to try to take anyone out of business," Nguyen said. "Plymouth is overcrowded so that’s why we came in. We're not worried about not getting customers."

He said during the weekends there are many events in Plymouth, so there should be enough business for everyone.

"We don't have a problem with fair competition," Turk said. "If they were not directly across the street, I wouldn't have as much of a problem with it."

But the window in which Yummie Yogurt's sign hangs is in plain sight from Yogurt Palooza's windows.

"It's a yogurt's cup throw from our store," Tomei said. 

Yogurt Palooza will have been open for two years in July. Tomei and Turk, who grew up in the area, said customers have said they will stay loyal to Yogurt Palooza.

The building, which has faced several delays, remains under construction. Ed Dombrowski, who owns the property, is advertising space available for retail and restaurants between 500 and 7,000 square feet.

Jokermtb January 23, 2013 at 01:19 AM
I think the decision of Dombrowski to allow a 'duplicate' business indicates the how willing he is to get people to rent from his new downtown place. A multi-year lease is probably what the Yummie Yogurt Nguyen is looking at. Dombrowski is not concerned that there is an existing Yogurt place across the street, but only that he has one less stall to lease out. Still, I really can't fathom why Nguyen would even want to put his new venture in such an initially precarious position. I don't get it, but maybe he has deep pockets and is prepared to undercut the competition to get a foothold or drive Yummie out of biz. Who knows? It's not fair, and even smacks of ridiculous, but having two competing businesses right across the street from each other has been occurring since the very idea of commerce began..........smaller pieces of the pie leave everyone hungry.
John January 23, 2013 at 03:57 AM
You do realize that the City can't say that there is enough yogurt shops in the City and it is illegal to open anymore....right?
Jen January 24, 2013 at 12:33 AM
The city gives permits to open businesses doesn't it? They have the ability to DENY a permit can't they? I have seen the city hassle good stores that were coming into town with permits and licensing problems. You are trying to tell me that they can't deny them a permit? (It doesn't have to be illegal for the city of Plymouth to state that it is not in our best interest to allow another Yogurt shop a license or permit to operate at a particular location) The city is also in the position to make it very uncomfortable for businesses they do not believe are suitable for our area.... or am I allowed to open a strip club across the street from the yogurt shop?
Jen January 24, 2013 at 12:36 AM
The City of Plymouth can make an ordinance that states two like businesses can not be within _____________ miles/feet of each other. This would stop this type of stupidity.
Paul Schulz January 24, 2013 at 01:08 AM
The last comment by jokermtb states it right. That's how the free market works. We have a new building downtown, paying taxes, thats better occupied than empty. There's space available, a tenant leases it, opening a new business, adding to our downtown. Thats a good thing. We should be supportive. I am really shocked to hear anyone making a new business in our town feel so unwelcome in this public forum. And as a long time Plymouth resident I think its terrible. If anything I would criticize the City for not allowing anymore liquor licenses. That is protectionism, and has hindered several additional restaurants(not bars) from moving into town. Complain about why our city restricts a new upscale restaurant from moving into town. You can't have a restaurant without one. Lets not forget where we come from people. Competition is good, let the free market prevail.

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