Frozen yogurt connoisseurs Jim and Lisa Cervone see a full house most nights at their shop in Massachusetts, so they decided to expand their business westward.
Ayelada, a frozen yogurt shop, celebrated its grand opening early last month after a soft opening in late April at its 1210 Troy Schenectady Road location. Unlike many frozen yogurt shops, the Cervones pride themselves with a unique business model by making the frozen yogurt from scratch on site each day.
“We make it in house,” said Jim Cervone. “That’s basically the difference between us and everyone else.”
On top of an in-house recipe, self-service can’t be found at Ayelada. Servers who are trained in the creation process and familiar with all ingredients fill each cup and handle any toppings.
“Those toppings stay very clean and pristine all day long,” said Jim. He and his wife agreed that they felt the full-service business model was better to cut down any potential health risks.
Customers pay by the cup size, as well, rather than the ounce, which Jim said he felt gave customers a better deal. Everything is also made with fresh, usually local ingredients.
Lisa Cervone said they get the ingredients for the yogurt from Massachusetts-based farms and that they try to find local businesses to pair with for toppings or specials. Lloyd Spear Beekeeper in Schenectady and Saratoga Peanut Butter have been recent contributors.
Each flavor of frozen yogurt, whether it be their original four flavors or specials, are made with fresh ingredients that then get added to the base plain vanilla recipe. The strawberry lemonade flavor, for example, contains “100 percent pureed strawberries,” said Lisa.
While the Cervones take pride in Ayelada, they didn’t always intend to get into the frozen yogurt business. Jim is in the finance field while Lisa is a physical therapist. “We got into it kind of by accident,” said Jim.
In Massachusetts, they frequented the frozen yogurt shop GoBerry. As their trips to the shop became more frequent, they got to know the owner and found that he made his frozen yogurt from scratch.
“He made it himself, which worked well. That was why we continued that model,” Jim said. “He helped us open our first store.”
Jim said that their Pittsfield shop was often filled to the max with customers, so they decided to expand. He said he and his wife were looking for a community-based, but larger location and came upon the Latham storefront.
The shop sits beside a Starbucks at the front of a plaza owned by Richard Rosetti. The plaza is currently undergoing redevelopment to become an upscale strip mall.
While the Cervones said they were waiting for the Latham store to get up and running, expanding further into Albany may be possible in the future. Jim said they might look into going closer to the University of Albany.
Right now, though, the Cervones said they were content to see how the Latham Ayelada grows. Jim said he hoped for it to become a place where people like to hang out and enjoy some frozen yogurt.
The shop is currently open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and is open until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. More information can be found at www.ayelada.com or by calling 608-0072.