(Ambrosio’s note: Welcome to this week’s edition of Fro-Yo Files, an exclusive bonus series for Platinum subscribers of Franchise Chatter. Today’s post is the second of two parts.)
Selling Merchandise is Part of the Plan
With its brightly colored logo, large selection of toppings, and especially its frog mascots and merchandise, sweetFrog is building its brand around being a family-friendly environment that caters especially to children. Most of sweetFrog’s corporate marketing efforts have revolved around the cartoonish Scoop and Cookie mascots that are used to sell everything from plush dolls, T-shirts, markers, hats, and other items for sale in a merchandise area of every store.
Boswell discovered, however, that sweetFrog did not offer a standardized way of presenting the merchandise from store to store, so he relied on his own instincts and those of his contractor to create an attractive display area. He also borrowed an idea from Hard Rock Cafe by printing his store’s location, Jacksonville Beach, on T-shirts to be sold in his shop in hopes of adding value to the item as a souvenir.
It shouldn’t be surprising that Boswell, a Baptist, first learned of sweetFrog through a member of his church. SweetFrog was founded on principles of Christianity and the F.R.O.G. in its name stands for Fully Rely On God. While Boswell said the quality of the frozen yogurt was his deciding factor in becoming a franchisee, the company’s Christian philosophy has been a fringe benefit.
“I felt comfortable in the people I was dealing with,” he said. “You’re entering into a relationship with the company and the people I was dealing with, they had some of the same values I think are important: to serve others. So in that regard, it was helpful. ”
He said some customers are also pleased to see sweetFrog espouse Christianity forthrightly by printing the motto Fully Rely On God on some of its T-shirts, for example.
“I get folks who come in who are not shocked to see it but are so happy,” he said. “It’s kind of a breath of fresh air when they see that and they see a company that’s not afraid to identify itself that way.”
Boswell identifies so closely with the company’s Christian principles, he even used his church as a resource for finding employees. He said he wanted the people he hired to project a wholesome image and to treat people nicely and guarantee a positive experience for his guests.
Interested Investors Must Do Homework
With a grand opening of his store in the offing, Boswell reflected on his experiences so far. He said the biggest challenge was build-out of the store, which led to some unanticipated delays, particularly because it required installation of a grease trap. The owner still makes his home in Richmond and hopes eventually to find the right manager for his store so he can spend more time with his family in Virginia. His advice for those mulling over their decision to invest in a franchise is to carefully research, set aside adequate finances, and make sure you have the time to dedicate to your new business.