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How Pinkberry Won the Yogurt Revival

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- "I've been waiting all day for this."

"Those raspberries look really fresh."

"They used to charge you by the topping, but now it's unlimited."

"Their flavors are all good."

These are just a few of the comments made by patrons during a recent afternoon visit to Pinkberry's SoHo Manhattan location.

Today it seems like everyone wants a piece of the frozen yogurt pie, er, cup.

Establishments with names like Red Mango, Yogen Fruz, Menchie's and Yogurtland keep popping up across the country. Traditional ice-cream establishments such as Cold Stone Creamery even decided to latch on to the trend by recently announcing the expansion of a frozen-yogurt offering to stores nationwide. The product rolled out in select locations early this year.

Frozen-yogurt franchises had their first run at success in the 1980s. Popular names like I Can't Believe It's Yogurt and TCBY were born during this time. A decade later, frozen-yogurt stores lost their buzz as ice-cream shops and coffeehouses stepped up the competition, according to a recent report by FranchiseHelp, a resource for entrepreneurship and franchise opportunities.

In recent years, though, the niche market has had a resurgence, arguably started by Pinkberry, according to CEO Ron Graves. (Red Mango also claims fame to the resurgence as the new original frozen-yogurt chain.)

"When Pinkberry launched in West Hollywood in 2005 there was actually nothing else like it," Graves said last week in an interview with TheStreet. "And that was one of the reasons for its instant success."

"Success breeds competition," he says. "Pinkberry had a different point of view on the space and how to deliver that space and was very successful out of the gate. There have been a lot of people inspired by Pinkberry and mimicking it to some degree."

Pinkberry, also known as Crackberry to its fans, has 125 stores around the globe with 40 franchisees and is growing. By the end of the year, it plans to have 175 locations opened in 19 states and as many as 17 countries, according to the company.
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