Friday, April 1, 2011

Bongo YoYo Reels Us In

Posted By on Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 3:24 PM

I hate April Fool's. Mostly because I'm usually trying so hard to be serious and focused that I'm completely vulnerable to the sneak prank attack.

The hoax press release that Bongo Java's Bob Bernstein sent out today was so detailed that I actually got sucked in enough to call Fido to check whether it might possibly be real.

A three-store chain combining frozen yogurt and yoga called Bongo YoYo? I've heard of stranger things. I mean, c'mon — a place that sells popsicles and hot cocoa?

Part of the multiple-email gag follows after the jump. I'll be right back after I look up this word "gullible" in the dictionary ...

Bongo YoYo ... Yogurt & Yoga

We're expanding! Well, the rumor is true. Bongo World is expanding once again and thus we're hanging out the Help Wanted sign.

I've been darn busy lately working on a secret project: Bongo YoYo.

I know the concept sounds silly. In fact, the whole idea of a combination yoga studio & yogurt shop started out as a joke before quickly turning into a three-store start-up. ...

A few months ago I was in a Chicago Northshore yogurt shop and I noticed all these people holding yoga mats. Turns out, there is a yoga studio next door and the yogurt shop gets busy whenever classes end. "Yoga & yogurt," I said to my wife. "They even sound like they go together."

We had a good laugh and she thought that was the end of it. Then, as I typically do, I kept going with the joke. First I came up with the name "Bongo YoYo." Then the slogan: "empty minds and empty calories."

Store #1. The idea was just a just a joke between us for several weeks. Then I showed the empty building in the Gulch we've had for years to someone who wanted to open a yoga studio. I jokingly told her her about my yoga/yogurt concept.

I thought she was putting me on when she said she loved it and wanted to do it. Her business plan had called for adding a yoga clothing store but she didn't really want to do that part of the business. She knew she needed a second source of income and the idea of a yogurt shop seemed perfect to her (she had managed such a place in college).

Stores #2 & 3. My shock continued a few days later when I pitched the idea to another friend who asked me to brainstorm with him about new business ideas. He not only loved it, but he almost immediatly raised the money to open two more stores.

Thus, Bongo YoYo was born and born and born.

Now I find myself working with a 6-person investment group opening three stores almost at once with plans to open a couple more in another city.

The Gulch will be our first location. The other sites will be East Nashville and Bellevue.

I guess the follow-up should really have tipped me off. "Toledo-style" yoga?

More info:

Ingredients. The yogurt at Bongo YoYo will be 100% organic and there will be non-dairy, non-frozen options and tasty options. Because we are making it ourselves, there will be no preservatives, no wax fillings and nothing that will melt if left in the car for a few minutes while you pick up your dry cleaning.

Yoga Practice. We will be offering all sorts of yoga classes including vinyasal, iyenger and the popular new Toledo style recently featured on Oprah. We will have classes for unflexible middle-aged men, children and monthly "yoga with your pet."

Costs. We have developed a unique cost structure for both concepts. Instead of charging by weight, as many yogurt shops do, we'll be charging by the calorie. Yoga classes will be charged by how many poses each student does. Regulars can by a group of "100 poses" at a discounted price.

Location. There will be drive through options for the yogurt at two of our three initial stores. There will NOT be drive thru available for yoga.

Additional concepts.
Bongo World tries to stay on the cutting edge. We have the oldest coffeehouse in town. We opened the first Certified Kosher Cafe and the only Certified Organic/Fair Trade Coffee Roaster in Nashville. And our Hot & Cold concept is unique in too many ways to explain.

Other concepts we are considering:

1. A mattress store that never has a sale.
2. A shoe store that sells single shoes for those who lost one.
3. A bar with half price drinks during "Depressed Hour"

Stay tuned for more info!

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