Thursday, May 23, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
Cashier Allison Garcia helps customer Lisa Perry of Adair Village at Fro-zone Yogurt in Independence July 5. The store is owned by Central High graduate Julie Leggs.
July 17, 2012
INDEPENDENCE -- Julie Leggs had passed muster with health inspectors, received half of her furniture and conducted a run-through with employees at her frozen yogurt shop in Central Plaza earlier this month.
It was a final push to be ready for the logical grand opening of Fro-zone -- the Fourth of July -- and "a complete blur," she said.
After taking part in the Fourth of July Grand Parade to let people know about the business, she went straight to work. A steady stream of customers who had lined Monmouth Street for Independence Day festivities followed.
"I had a hunch this was something that would take off here," she said.
The setup at Fro-zone is similar to other self-service frozen yogurt shops. Customers will have 10 flavors of yogurt to choose from, with sugar- and dairy-free options, and more than 50 toppings, ranging from fruit to candy. Cost is by the ounce.
"I think it's a good addition to Central Plaza," she said. "And I'm excited that people won't have to drive to Corvallis or Salem anymore to get frozen yogurt."
Fro-zone is Leggs' first business. The prospect of opening in her hometown made it especially sweet, she said.
A corporate accountant by trade, Leggs is a Central High School graduate and earned a business degree from Western Oregon University in 1997.
After a few years with an accounting firm, Leggs took a job as a divisional controller for Portland-based Pacific Seafood. The latter job meant traveling back and forth between processing locations from Mexico to Alaska for almost 11 years, Leggs said.
"I wanted a lifestyle change," Leggs said of her decision to start a yogurt shop this past winter. "I opened this business for fun."
Leggs pounced on a vacancy in Central Plaza earlier this year. And despite her background, she sought out guidance by enrolling in Independence's small business incubator program.
"It's a different experience looking at somebody else's financial statements compared to living it, and seeing how difficult it is to get financing," she said.
Leggs even consulted her high school marketing teacher.
"She's been my mentor ever since Central High," she said. "She looked over my business plan ... she's been quite a help."
Leggs said her first job was doling out soft serve at Dairy Queen in Monmouth. She's been able to come full circle in a way, by hiring teens from Central High and Western Oregon University.
"There were excellent examples of local businesses here giving back," she said. "And that's what I wanted, too."
Check It Out
What: Fro-zone Yogurt.
Where: 1389 Monmouth St., in Central Plaza next to Subway, in Independence.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.
For more information: 503-837-1376 or Fro-zone's Facebook page.