*Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly transposed the first and last name of Reese Travis in multiple locations. It also included an incorrect spelling of Allen Wills' first name and incorrectly identified Matt Wills' job description. This article has been updated to reflect the correct names, spellings and job information.
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt is coming to Richmond Heights, and with it comes a franchise model worth investigating. The store will be located at 6674 Clayton Rd.
The company began in San Francisco with two investors dedicated to making a quality frozen yogurt, the company's website states. In 2009, Reese Travis*, the current chief executive of Orange Leaf and one of a group of owners, opened two stores in Oklahoma and one in Wichita Falls, Texas.
He invested in Orange Leaf, a company that aims to be health-conscious and has many fruit-based flavors (along with not-so-health-conscious-flavors). He later purchased the company from the original owners.
Travis* has turned it into one of the fastest growing franchises in the country, the website states. At the time of purchase, Travis* and his partners owned three of fifteen stores. Then in 2010, 50 additional stores opened with the help of Matt Wills, then the franchising director.
Corporate staff* assist franchisees in getting started. The company has 83 open stores and 37 stores under construction.
Pat Croghan, president of the Richmond Heights Chamber of Commerce, thinks the owners of the city's Orange Leaf—Brittany and Allen* Wills—picked the perfect location for their new store.
"It is fantastically located, close to the highways and innerbelt. If you drew a bullseye in the center of the St. Louis area, Richmond Heights would be it," Croghan said.
He said the city's demographics are well balanced because of its ratio of businesses to residences and the age range of residents. That means Orange Leaf fits well in Richmond Heights.
"I do yoga with 18- to 25-year-olds, I am 55 and another student is 70, and we all namaste together," Croghan joked.
The Wills worked with a territory developer and thought Richmond Heights would be a prime location. The people living and working in the area deserve a superior frozen yogurt product, Brittany Wills said.
The store is under construction with a tentative opening date in mid-September. A construction manual and coordinator are provided by the company's corporate office, which assists with the process and makes a final inspection of the location.
As the store is being built, training and operations staff work with franchisees and instruct them in marketing, brand consistency and daily operations. Once the store opens, the support and training continues.
"The professionalism, energy and investment from the company and its employees, as well as a phenomenally superior product, is what made me choose Orange Leaf," Brittany Wills said. The Wills already own stores in O'Fallon, MO, and Evansville, IN, and they plan to open stores in Arnold and Tesson Ferry.
Orange Leaf aims to cater to a variety of tastes and dietary needs. It offers no-sugar-added vanilla and chocolate, dairy-free and certified kosher alternatives. In addition to providing classic flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream and coffee, Orange Leaf offers fruit-flavored yogurts such as banana, blueberry, pineapple, cherry, watermelon, mango, orange, grape, grapefruit, kiwi, green apple, honeydew, passion fruit, raspberry and pomegranate.
Orange Leaf locations feature eight self-serve machines with two flavors each.
Cake and pie lovers can also rejoice because Orange Leaf will offer up yogurts reminiscent of cheesecake, birthday cake, wedding cake, red velvet cake, brownie batter and key lime pie.
Customers then get to top their yogurt with such things as fresh kiwi, pear, peach, mango, banana, blueberry, pineapple, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry or honey dew. For the not-so-health-conscious, offerings include Jelly Bellys, Oreos, Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Pebbles, brownies, M&Ms, sprinkles, marshmallows and Reese's cups.
Customers then pay for their dessert by the ounce.
While the store is under construction, residents can stop by and pick up an employment application. The Wills will be hiring one to two full-time employees and 12 to 18 part-time employees.