Another vacant storefront in the Chatham Mall has an occupant.
IYO, a new frozen yogurt company, recently placed signs up in front of No. 7 at the Chatham Mall along Shunpike Road in Chatham Township. The signs say the store is "coming soon."
Mark Weisberg is one of six owners of the new business. The other co-owners are Weisberg's wife Pamela, Tommy Loconte, Paul Panzarino, Cindy Malonchak and Doug Vagell—all have experience in business ownership, restaurant management or ownership or both.
"Obviously when you’re dealing with towns and regulations and the permit department, you can’t give a definitive answer as to when you'll open, because obviously each town is different. But I’m hoping to be open in six weeks or less," Mark Weisberg said.
Before they can open, IYO's owners must gain approvals from the Chatham Township Planning Board and Board of Health. Weisberg said they initiated the process Wednesday morning.
Weisberg, a resident of Watchung, said he and his partners have lots of experience between them. Weisberg himself has worked in restaurants "on and off" for 20 years, and one of his partners, Malonchak, has built out several frozen yogurt stores, though this is her first time owning one.
The store will offer self-serve frozen yogurt and rotate about 40 different flavors with 70 to 100 toppings, Weisberg said. They will also offer other desserts, including slushies and cotton candy.
"We're going to be a parent's worst nightmare," Weisberg said with a laugh. "The name of our place is IYO: The Frozen Experience. We're going to have a variety of desserts for people.
The signs outside the Chatham Mall storefront say the business is looking to hire, mostly part-time employees. "We're looking to get both [high school and college students]," Weisberg said, "and we've even had housewives and stay-at-home moms apply. ... We're wide open as far as democraphics."
About 10 to 15 jobs are available, Weisberg said, for afternoon and evening shifts.
"So far everybody that has called to apply for a job has been from Madison," Weisberg said, but he hopes to hire Chatham residents as well.
Weisberg also said the owners plan to get involved with local schools, churches and athletics. "We're planning on being very proactive with the town. We're not just going to be a tenant," he said.