Frozen yogurt business in the mix again


The Planning Commission is considering whether to approve a site plan and outdoor dining application for a Peachwave frozen yogurt storefront, pictured. Owner Gregg Roberts withdrew an earlier proposal slated for 279 Purchase St. due to traffic concerns levied by the public and the commission. If approved, the shop would take over the former location of a Bank of New York.

Peachwave Frozen Yogurt is making a second attempt to move into Rye in less than a year, but this time, it’s the other end of Purchase Street.

Members of the city’s Plan­ning Commission are currently considering whether to approve a site plan for the business as well as an application for outdoor dining, and will address the issue at the next meeting on Oct. 23.

Peachwave franchisee Gregg Roberts, who  sublet the 100 Pur­chase St. building this summer, came to the city in August with a proposal to set up shop there.

In his plan, Roberts hopes to include 500 square feet of seasonal outdoor seating. The location is the former site of a Bank of New York.

Roberts, a Danbury, Conn., resident, tried unsuccessfully to bring Peachwave to Rye City earlier this year.

Roberts said he is trying once again for a spot on Purchase Street because he thinks the city will be a great location for his business.

In Rye, there is room for an upscale frozen yogurt experience with healthier dessert options, he said. “We think it’s a really good demographic,” said Roberts.

In March, Roberts withdrew his original application from consideration: A proposal to move into a building at 279 Purchase St. at the intersection of Purchase Street and Wappanocca Avenue. He decided to withdraw his proposal when it became clear that he wasn’t going to receive the necessary approvals needed to bring the proposal to life.

At that time, a public hearing drew a full room of people, mostly hailing from the Wappanocca neighborhood surrounding the building. Residents of the area cited traffic concerns with the location—it had been converted to a retail space—if it were to house a business that served food. The stance of the Planning Commission was that the location was not, at the time, situated to become a dining facility due to parking.

According to Roberts, the landlord bought the property six years earlier with the condition that he not rent to a business with food use.

This time around, at a public hearing at the Sept. 24 commission meeting, there was no such uproar. Roberts’s plan to move in to the 1,925 square-foot building at 100 Purchase St. has been much more well received by the Planning Commission and the public than the last time.

Roberts said the first no-go was actually ”a blessing in disguise” because the new location seems to be a better fit for the business in terms of availability of outdoor space.

Republican Councilwoman Laura Brett, who is the City Council liaison to the Planning Commission, said the plan is now pretty far along in the approval process.

 “At this point, we’ve asked them to refine their plans to accommodate garbage and some concerns about pedestrian use of the property,” she said.

From her own perspective, Brett said, “It is really good for the City of Rye to see some development there,” especially since the building has been vacant after Bank of New
York left.

Another reason she personally feels the yogurt proposal would be good for Rye, she said, is that the city’s last frozen yogurt storefront on Purchase Street, Yogojoy, closed in August, so a replacement is in order.

Roberts described Peachwave as “the Shake Shack of frozen yogurts” that, like the trendy urban fast food establishment, provides a cool, hip in-store experience for customers. “We consider ourselves a little more of a destination,” he said.

But, when it comes to Peachwave becoming a success after the departure of Yogojoy, he said, “We’ll let the community decide.”

With a municipal parking lot next door and a rental rate of $50 per square foot, the location has attributes that make it appropriate for a restaurant-like facility with outdoor dining. If approved, the Rye branch will have the biggest outdoor area of all his stores, he said.

Roberts owns stores in Mount Kisco as well as locations in Westport and Norwalk, Conn.
The Peachwave franchise has 77 locations around the country.