The Formula: Yogurt=$$$

The Formula: Yogurt=$$$

Have-your-way frozen yogurt shops are colonizing the Twin Cities—with Yogurt Lab at the forefront.

It’s funny how fast a retail trend catches fire once the fuse is lit.

Yogurt Lab’s owner Andrea Switz, with the assistance of husband Aaron, came up with the idea of a customizable frozen yogurt palace after a trip to Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2011, where they came across a multitude of self-serve frozen yogurt shops. Yogurt Lab opened its doors just west of Uptown in December, offering customers 16 do-it-yourself flavors of frozen yogurt and 60 toppings, sold by weight.

The selections cater to both the wellness-minded and the sucrose fiend: from sugar-free frozen yogurt with fruit to dessert-flavored yogurt with candy. At 48 cents an ounce, customers pay for how much they want to eat, rather than typical big, bigger, and biggest.

Andrea Switz believes Yogurt Lab’s point of differentiation is quality. It makes most yogurt in-house and uses fresh fruit for toppings, thus it prices at a premium to similar operations.

As of May, Yogurt Lab had reached approximately $400,000 in 2012 sales, with a projection of $1 million by the end of the year. To date, the local chain’s creation has been largely self-funded by the Switzes personal resources, with some financing from family and close friends.

The Switzes’ hope to eventually have between five and 10 stores in the metro area, three of which are opening this summer: at the IDS Center, at 50th and France, and near the U of M—premium locations for a premium product with a premium price.