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When his son took a job in high school working for a Yogurtland frozen treat store, eventually becoming the manager, Jim Emrich could not have known that his son’s part-time job would change his family’s future.
Today, young Joe Emrich, now 20, helps his father manage two Let’s YO! frozen yogurt stores in New Jersey that his family opened during the last year.
“It helped a lot in our case that our son had the experience,” said Jim Emrich, 43. He credits his son’s working knowledge with allowing the family to open two stores within nine months of one another. But the decision to open two stores so quickly was also because the company made the process easy, and he wanted to get a jump on any competitors before they moved into the markets he was exploring, he said.
The Emrichs opened their first 1,800-square-foot Let’s YO! in Marlton, N.J., in March of 2012 and had their second, 1,500-square-foot store opened in East Windsor before the end of the year.
“Things were just going so smooth and it seemed like the right time for it,” Jim Emrich said of the decision to move ahead with a second store after being in business less than a year. “The head of franchisees (at Let’s YO!) is always there to call. They’re always there for the franchisees. It’s not like they just take your money, wish you luck, and see how it turns out. It was a community feeling of we’re all in this together.”
No Prior Franchise Experience
Jim Emrich had no prior franchise experience before opening his first Let’s YO!. He went to Hofstra University on Long Island and studied marketing before joining his father’s firm working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. But when the firm was eventually acquired by Goldman Sachs, Emrich was already looking for a career change that would allow him to spend more time with his wife Maria and their three kids. He explored some very disparate businesses, from running a horse farm to opening a delicatessen. But having been at the store where his son worked, he started researching frozen yogurt franchises.
“We have young kids,” he said. “Health and nutrition is big with my wife. We see what’s going on with the country with the obesity in children. So, it’s giving something back that’s good. You’re getting a snack but at the same time it’s good for you.
He started out by contacting U-Swirl but “just didn’t really get a great vibe from it,” he said. And because he and his wife were familiar with Retro Fitness, the first successful franchise venture in the New Jersey area by Let’s YO! founder Eric Casaburi, soon they were researching the newest frozen yogurt concept. Let’s YO! sets itself apart from the growing number of frozen yogurt chains by stressing “a yogurt experience” and being an innovator in the use of social media.