By Jennifer Vazquez
Hundreds of Giants fans lined Kearny Avenue this past Saturday, Sept. 15, to catch a glimpse and get autographs of a couple of NFL players from ‘Big Blue.’
Players Justin Trattou and Will Hill represented the New York Giants –taking the time to pose for pictures and sign autographs fore all those who waited anxiously for hours outside 252 Kearny Ave.
Of course these players where present for a special occasion –the welcoming of a new business to the town’s main street. The new addition? Yo-Lish. An up-and-coming self-serve frozen yogurt franchise.
According to Yo-Lish founder and owner John Youmans, the business is a family venture, with both his wife, Jacqueline, and son, Jonathan, having an input in bringing this business endeavor into fruition.
“It’s a family business,” he said. “We all work towards it.”
Yo-Lish is up to a remarkable start –ever since the first store opened up in Rutherford this past April –just a few months ago!
Co-owners of Kearny’s Yo- Lish, Tony Lenardo and Jack Johnson knew that the town was the perfect spot for the yogurt shop.
“I have family in the area,” Johnson said. “When I passed (Kearny Avenue) I knew this was the place to set up shop. We just had to wait for an actual location. When we saw that the building was for lease, we jumped at the opportunity.”
Johnson got the idea to involve professional football players in the grand opening one day while on a social media website.
“Trattou posted on Twitter how much he loves frozen yogurt,” he explained. “When I saw this I twitted him saying that we were opening up a place and if he would be part of the grand opening. He said yes. Then we had to go through Giants’ management to get approved. And we were.”
This idea proved to be exceptional for the hundreds of fans who showed up –the fact that they could also get a variety of fresh and delicious frozen yogurt was an added bonus for many!
While Yo-Lish is dedicated to providing customers with an array of frozen yogurt and more than 50 toppings, they also are searching to expand their products, especially for the winter months.
“We are looking to have soup,” Youmans said. “As of now we have two kinds. We are going to try out (the idea) with those two and hopefully add-on. We are also looking to provide warm pretzels –kind of like Auntie Anne’s.”
Kearny’s town council was present at the lively event, including Mayor Alberto Santos –who had the honor of cutting the ribbon.
Councilwoman Carol Jean Doyle described the beneficial aspect that a new business will bring to the town.
“It’s a unique business with a unique concept,” she said. “They will get a lot of foot traffic just by their location. (The shop) is vibrant –an eye catcher.”
Doyle added that the fact that Yo-Lish has iPads at every table and flat screen televisions throughout the shop will also be an enticing concept for potential costumers.
Councilwoman Susan McCurrie wholeheartedly agreed.
“They will do great here,” she added.
Hudson County Freeholder Anthony L. Romano was also present at the event, showing his support at the grand opening.
“This is a great addition to Hudson County, and, especially to the great city of Kearny,” he said.
Lenardo has many goals and ideas centered around the new Yo-Lish local. He hopes to give back to the community, planning days when youngsters show up and buy their yogurt with their school’s team shirt. If they do so, not only will these young students get 10 percent off their purchase, but, in addition, Yo-Lish will donate 10 percent of that same purchase to their school.
“We are looking into programs for not only Kearny,” he added. “We want to give everyone, from any town, the chance to benefit.”