Frozen Yogurt Coming to Chatham in the Fall
Planning Board approves application, owners said they hope to open by Oct. 1.
The Chatham Borough Planning Board unanimously approved an application for a site plan waiver Wednesday, paving the way for a new frozen yogurt shop to move into the empty storefront at 258 Main St.
Owners Cindy LaSalle and Arlene and Jeffrey Burnett of Berkeley Business Concepts, LLC plan to open their first frozen yogurt shop in the empty storefront at the intersection of Main Street and Center Street. The name of the business will be Yo Lotta Luv.
LaSalle's husband, Anthony LaSalle, offered testimony to the Planning Board on the business's layout and plan. According to attorney Gary Haydu, Anthony LaSalle "has been working in the industry for some 30 years. ... He has been employed as a business advisor, and will work in that capacity, as well as a manager onsite."
LaSalle, a Berkeley Heights resident, said the shop will offer 18 flavors of self-serve frozen yogurt, with a selection of fresh and dry toppings such as fruit, nuts and sprinkles. Customers will pay for their product by weight.
"We'll have a counter-top fridge with water" and other refreshments available for sale, LaSalle said, and the shop may expand their menu to include hot soup, sold from behind the counter, in cold weather.
Hours of operation will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Peak hours are usually between 6 and 10 p.m., in LaSalle's experience. The business will close on major holidays and will remain open during the winter. "It's a pretty year-round business," LaSalle said.
There will be indoor seating for 17 to 20 customers. "Average stay is about 15 minutes," LaSalle said "There's less butter and fat content, so it tends to melt quickly."
The shop will include handicap-accessible bathrooms. Since there is no step to enter the store, LaSalle said it should be accessible for those with mobility impediments.
"The town seems to do a pretty good lunch business," LaSalle said, and "we anticipate a pretty good mixture of both" foot and vehicular traffic.
LaSalle said there will be a maximum of four employees, including one manager, onsite during hours of operation. LaSalle himself will serve as one manager, and he told the Planning Board the business intends to hire high school and college students from within the community.
Planning Board members asked about parking, times and days of deliveries for the business and especially maintaining garbage in the interior and exterior of the store.
LaSalle said between the Center Street East and West parking lots, the Firehouse Plaza parking, the train station and onsite parking, he believes there will be plenty of parking available for customers. He also said he is looking into purchasing some parking permits for employees.
Deliveries of frozen yogurt will be made Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and deliveries of toppings will be made Tuesday and Friday. Suppliers use two-axle box trucks and will have keys, so they can make deliveries in the morning before the store opens, LaSalle said. He also said he would talk to his suppliers about making deliveries after 6 a.m., in accordance with the wishes of the Planning Board.
As for trash collection and maintenance, LaSalle said it will be part of the employees' job description to keep both the interior and exterior of the store free from trash at all times. There will be trash cans inside the store, and LaSalle said employees will be responsible for picking up any containers which may be dropped into the gutters or on sidewalks in front of the store, and he said the business is willing to purchase a borough-approved receptacle for their waste management vendor.
Since trash is collected Tuesday and Fridays, the Planning Board asked LaSalle to agree to store trash from outside the store over the weekends, if the receptacles should overflow with waste. LaSalle agreed.
LaSalle also said he plans to have an externally-lit sign over the door on the side of the building. Since the corner already has two streetlamps and the walls are glass on both sides, which will allow light from inside the store to light the entryway and sidewalks, he does not plan to include any other external lighting.
Borough Engineer Vincent J. DeNave said he spoke with the borough's professional Planner, Susan Blickstein, who told him the business will not require a parking variance. "This application should be heard as a waiver of site plan. They will have to provide the same proofs," but a parking variance is not necessary.
Board Member H.H. Montague moved that the board approve the application, and it passed unanimously.
LaSalle said Yo Lotta Luv will ideally open by Oct. 1.