By Laura Fenton
U of M students enjoy the latest addition to the campus bookstore: a YoLo frozen yogurt
stand. The company is run by three U of M alumni. (Photo by Rhonda Cosentino)
The taste of success for three University of Memphis graduates is so sweet – and salty,
drizzled with melted chocolate fudge and a few sprinkles for flair.
When Taylor Berger (JD ’07) decided to bring the concept of a “build your own frozen
yogurt sundae” to Memphis in 2010, balancing a law career and budding stores was too
much to handle. He had to choose.
After days and days of little sleep, Berger chose frozen yogurt.
“It was one of the most freeing decisions I’ve ever made,” Berger said. “I have no
regrets. This is just so much more fulfilling for me.”
As owner of YoLo, the regional frozen yogurt chain, Berger asked two other U of M
alumni to join his team.
Frank Adcock (BA ’10) joined in March 2011 as sales manager and Corey Nelson (BFA
’07) joined in June 2011 as operations manager for all five Memphis locations, including
the recently added one in the University Bookstore.
The first time Berger asked Adcock to join the YoLo team, the response was no because
he had other dreams to chase. But when Berger asked for help in expanding the chain,
Adcock’s feelings changed.
“I quit my job that day,” he said.
Cultivating Nelson to join the team didn’t take quite as long. Leaving his architecture
job to be a part of YoLo, Nelson drew on his years of experience during college as
assistant manager at Chick-fil-A. Plus, his architecture background has been a tremendous
help in designing store layouts and container stands for the frozen yogurt toppings.
YoLo combines the terms “yogurt” and “local,” which embody the two intentions of the
store. Every time Berger and his partners have a chance to add a local flair, they
do so. Stores will play Memphis music, display Mid-South artwork (available for purchase)
and serve local fresh fruit toppings and bakery treats.
“Local products taste better,” Berger said.
Plus, joining with other area vendors means the community is in YoLo’s corner.
“Every local vendor that we have becomes our teammate,” Berger said. “They’re rooting
for us. And, their customers become our customers because they can get (things like)
Makeda’s cookies at our YoLo or Dinstuhl’s at YoLo. No one else does that.”
The model is transferrable to other markets, as exhibited in the uniquely local YoLo
expansion stores in Jackson, Tenn.; Cary, N.C.; Asheville, N.C; and Owensboro, Ky.
The constant contact with communities means YoLo always wants feedback. Even things
as simple as asking when the next time your favorite flavor will be on the menu can
offer surprising results.
On one occasion, Nelson says, a woman came to the store asking about a gelato flavor,
and the person working the front counter walked to the back and whipped up a batch
of the requested flavor.
“She had it within 15 minutes,” he said.
So, never be afraid to ask at YoLo — it just may appear.
For more information, go to www.yolofroyo.com.