East Greenwich is getting its very own frozen yogurt shop, Orange Leaf, to open within the next week, according to owner (and EG resident) Jay Patel. The store, located near Gold's Gym at East Greenwich Marketplace on Division Street, is one of several Patel is opening in Rhode Island.
Patel has already opened three Orange Leaf shops in Rhode Island and one in Seekonk, Mass., but this store is special.
"It's exciting because it's our hometown," Patel said Monday. It's also a bit of a family affair, with daughter Prutha (EGHS Class of 2009) in charge of marketing for the growing company.
Prutha Patel, who graduated from Boston University in September with a degree in business management aptly enough, said it hadn't been her aim to go to work for the family business but the job was just too good to pass up.
In addition to her marketing duties, Prutha is overseeing all aspects of opening a store in Wellesley, Mass. But the family's ties to East Greenwich make this an ideal community to push the Orange Leaf belief in community involvement to the limit.
They've already joined forces with the East Greenwich Avenger Booster Club, organizing a fundraiser for the playoff-bound EGHS Football team and they are very open to holding special fundraising nights for any interested organization.
For instance, said Prutha, a group could hold a fundraiser at Orange Leaf on a Wednesday evening from 5 to 8 and get 10 percent of all sales during that time.
"Anyone who wants to raise money can talk to Prutha," said her dad, who is thrilled with his daughter's involvement.
"We didn't pressure her at all, but when your business is growing so fast, you need someone you can trust," he said. And the business is growing fast. The EG store will be Patel's fifth in the area, with stores already in Newport, Kingston, Warwick and Seekonk.
Patel said he first saw an Orange Leaf store while on a visit to Tennessee. "I saw this beautiful place through the window," he recalled. Orange Leaf is one of a few companies riding the new frozen yogurt wave. What sets Orange Leaf apart is its self-service aspect.
When you visit an Orange Leaf, you decide what flavor or flavors of yogurt you want, how much you want as well as how much of what toppings you'll have. At the end, your cup of "froyo" is weighed and you pay 49 cents an ounce. Patel said the average visitor spends between $4 and $6.50 on a cup of yogurt.
The East Greenwich store will offer 16 flavors, some of which will rotate, depending on the season.
The store will open first for a "friends and family" night either this Friday or early next week. For the Patels, that means all of East Greenwich is invited. To make sure you don't miss out, check out the Orange Leaf East Greenwich Facebook page here. EG Patch will try to get the word out too.