published Friday, September 14th, 2012

Yogurt shop thrives in growing area of Cleveland

  • photo
    Bhumi Patel, left, prepares a waffle bowl with the help of Kaitlyn Ceraolo.
    Photo by Carey O'Neil.
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Name: Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt

Location: 615 Paul Huff Parkway, Cleveland, Tenn.

Contact information: 423-790-5719, OrangeLeafYogurt.com

Products/services: Soft-serve fat-free or low-fat frozen yogurt. Orange Leaf serves 16 flavors at a time, rotating through 70 total flavors

Age: Opened Nov. 7

Getting started: Local franchise owner Milan Patel has been involved in the hotel business for a long time, and wanted to try something different. He owned a property on the rapidly-developing Paul Huff Parkway and thought a frozen yogurt shop would fit in great at that spot. “It’s something I’ve always enjoyed, so it’s nice to get into the business of something I like and partake in,” he said. “I’m a healthy person, and sometimes if I get a sweet tooth and there’s a healthy alternative, I’ll go for that.”

Location first: Before he even considered opening a yogurt shop, Patel picked up the Paul Huff Parkway site. “It’s such a cliché, but location, location location,” he said “It’s ridiculous how true it is. Everything really depends on it.”

Target market: Shoppers and diners in the area. Several restaurants and shopping centers have recently opened in the area. Patel hopes to capture some of that market. “It’s almost like a mini-Gunbarrel Road,” he said.

Biggest reward: Connecting with customers. With hotels, Patel has far less repeated interaction with those using his service. At Orange Leaf, he sees a large number of people. “Everyone’s got to eat at some point,” he said.

Lesson learned: Customer service is key to being successful both in restaurants and hotels. “You can never underestimate customer service and how important that is,” he said.

— If you have an idea for a small business feature, contact reporter Carey O’Neil at coneil@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6525. Follow him at twitter.com/careyoneil.

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