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Nov22

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Business Snapshot: Pinkberry

Last weekend, I can come to an inevitable realization as I bundled up in frigid temperatures and harsh winds: it's never too cold for frozen yogurt.

The fro-yo trend started in the '80s, thanks to companies like TCBY. But over the last few years, it's gone from diet fad to dessert staple. And it really took off in Southern California in 2005 with the launch of Pinkberry, a small business started by two budding entrepreneurs looking to create an "inspired design and a social experience that indulges the senses." Blending a love of Italian gelato and memories of soft-serve ice cream from a Hawaiian pineapple plantation with a background in design and branding, Pinkberry reinvented frozen yogurt with unique flavors, unexpected toppings and an unwavering brand personality.

In 2007, AmEx came calling and featured the brand in a small business case study promoting their Plum card. And the rest, as they say, is original-flavored, coconut-covered history. Today, Pinkberry has more than 75 stores across the U.S., with new franchises opening domestically and overseas each year.

Over the last few years, I've studied frozen yogurt like the art-meets-science that it is. I can tell you which spots have the best texture, flavors and topping combos; which are must-try, and which are can-skip. And this obsession - much like the reinvention of fro-yo itself - started with a visit to Pinkberry in 2008. So during a recent visit to NYC, I had to reminisce and pay homage. And it didn't disappoint. From the vibrant and vivacious in-store experience to their one-of-a-kind signature flavors and toppings, Pinkberry continues to set the bar for a category that's launched thousands of small business competitors.  And lest you think I'm alone in my passion for Pinkberry, check out the "Groupie" page of their website for customer testimonials, photos and a general love-fest for the brand.

Pinkberry's small-business-gone-global story is inspiring, fun and most of all, delicious. This holiday season, put down the hot cocoa and step away from the gingerbread - and treat yourself to a cup of tart frozen yogurt covered in peanut butter crunch (my personal recommendation).