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Local family has hit with frozen yogurt biz
By October, goji’s to boast 7 stores in Atlantic region, 1 in BC
(MONCTON, N.B. – Sept. 6, 2013) – What started as an idea for a cool hobby business has exploded into a hot venture for a Maritime family.
goji’s Frozen Yogurt is the brainchild of Moncton sisters Janette Zacharias and Carol Wirsz. During a visit to Florida in 2011, the family discovered a self-serve frozen yogurt shop and discussed how a similar business might be popular locally. When they returned home, they began to seriously consider the idea.
“We thought it might make a great little hobby business when our children go to university,” said Carol. “I guess little is not what the universe had in mind.”
Through online research, the family connected with Tom Ostoich, President of Socially Responsible Food Group Inc., a California-based company whose mission is to make healthy products from local ingredients. Besides being an industry leader in developing high quality products, Tom is a consulting expert in restaurant development. In recent years he has assisted with more then 200 frozen yogurt store openings in North America and abroad.
“We started working with Tom last September,” said Janette. “His extensive knowledge has proven to be an amazing asset to us. In less than a year, we’ve collaborated on the opening of our four goji’s stores – first in Dieppe in December, then in Moncton, Shediac and Riverview. We’re absolutely thrilled with the response. People just love our products.”
Janette and her husband, Jeff Zacharias, along with Carol and her husband Bob Wirsz, as well as Janette’s brother, Arlan Weststrate and his wife, Isabelle, co-own the four local goji’s shops and are now busy with franchise development.
“We’ve formed a strategic alliance with Tom and are now franchising across Canada though goji’s Franchising Corporation, which we formed in May,” says Janette. “We’re getting daily inquiries from those interested in franchise opportunities. It’s been pleasantly overwhelming.”
Janette and Carol’s brother, Blaine Weststrate, will open the first goji’s franchise this month in Kelowna, B.C. In October, two additional franchises will be unveiled – one in Halifax and another in Charlottetown – with a second Halifax location set to open in late fall.
In each bright, modern goji’s location, customers can serve themselves a dish of frozen yogurt, sorbet or gelato from one or more of the flavours offered in the shop’s wall-mounted machines. Signature flavours – most of which are made in-house – range from Pumpkin Pie to Red Velvet Cake, with no-sugar-added, gluten-free and lactose-free options also available.
Once they’ve dispensed their frozen yogurt, sorbet or gelato, customers can help themselves to a myriad of fruit toppings – like fresh strawberries and blueberries – and/or dry toppings, such as gummies or Oreo cookie pieces. The price of each goji’s masterpiece is based on weight, at $0.53 per ounce ($1.87 per 100 grams). (Smoothies can also be purchased.)
“Since frozen yogurt is lower in fat due to the fact that it’s made with milk, not cream, it’s a healthier alternative to ice cream, with a third fewer calories per ounce,” says Carol. “One of the things that sets goji’s apart from other frozen yogurts is that it’s made from premium ingredients and packed with live and active cultures. In every ounce serving, there are 100 million probiotics – friendly bacteria that promote good health. goji’s is nutritious and delicious.”
What’s ahead for goji’s?
“We’ll keep striving to provide a top quality product with exceptional flavour,” says Janette. “And we’re really looking forward to giving back to our community after the incredible reception our community has given goji’s over the past year.”