A recent college graduate’s first business soon will join the growing ranks of Iowa City’s frozen yogurt shops.
Cate Sarrazin, 23, graduated in May 2012 from Ashford College in Clinton with a business degree. She will open Cate’s Frozen Yogurt on May 9. The business will be located in the restaurant space of Dan’s Short Stop gas station at 2221 Rochester Ave., replacing Blimpie’s Sub Shop.
Cate’s will be the fourth frozen yogurt store to open in Iowa City after Yotopia Frozen Yogurt set up shop in September 2011, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt in August 2012 and Aspen Leaf Yogurt and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in September 2012.
She said her store’s location in a residential neighborhood across the street from the Regina Catholic Education Center will help it remain competitive by marketing to a different demographic — the other three Iowa City frozen yogurt stores are located downtown and see heavy college student traffic.
“I definitely think the downtown businesses will always be competition,” she said. “But here it’s kind of a different market in the sense that we’re not targeting the same group of people.”
Dan’s Short Stop owner Dan Glasgow also said he thinks the new store will appeal to an untapped market.
“Our market here is almost all high school kids and their families and parents,” he said. “I’m fine with college kids, but they have virtually no effect up here.”
The new shop will be a family venture — Sarrazin’s father, Ed, owns 25 percent of the business, and her stepmother, Mary, helped Cate with the interior design and accounting.
“We wanted to help by assuming some of the risk and making the business somewhat of a family endeavor.” Ed Sarrazin said. “Cate is the principle owner but we hope to have the whole family involved. Even Cate’s younger sisters are excited about helping.”
Mary Sarrazin suggested to Cate that she pursue the frozen yogurt business after graduating from college, having seen the success of other stores in the area. Although Cate began researching the possibilities and looking into taking out loans, she was unable to find a suitable location until hearing about the opening at Dan’s Short Stop last fall.
At that time, she was working as a restaurant server in Davenport, so she said she was glad to pursue professional employment relevant to her area of study.
“Working at the restaurant gave me time to ease into things,” she said. “I had to mentally prepare myself for all the work (owning a business) would be. I had a little bit of a transition period, but now I’m excited to get it going.”