Pinkberry opens Davis Square location
Published: Monday, September 16, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 16, 2013 02:09
After multiple failed attempts to secure a permit for the location, frozen yogurt franchise Pinkberry on Sept. 6 opened a new branch in Davis Square, joining two other frozen yogurt restaurants in the vicinity.
The dessert chain marked its grand opening by passing out seven hundred free frozen yogurts to customers on its first day of business, according to CEO of the New England Pinkberry franchise Ted Davis.
Davis said the company is extremely happy to have moved into the Davis Square area.
“We love to be affiliated with a university environment,” he said. “Tufts is close, and we felt it was a natural fit.”
A national chain founded in 2005, Pinkberry has expanded into New England from its original California home. Fourteen locations fall under Davis’ jurisdiction, and 20 locations exist in the region, Davis said. Davis credits Pinkberry’s popularity and success to the quality of its products and attention to cleanliness.
“Pinkberry is an upscale yogurt bar ... well known for its frozen yogurt flavors,” Davis said, adding that the restaurant also offers Greek yogurt, smoothies and shakes. “The product that you receive is always healthy, fresh and delicious.”
The news of Pinkberry’s move into Davis Square provoked mild controversy during the winter of 2013, as the area is already home to two other frozen yogurt establishments. Twice before, the Somerville Zoning Board of Appeals denied the frozen yogurt chain a permit due to the concern that large chains would take over Davis Square. Frozen yogurt shops iYO and Orange Leaf are situated within 320 feet of Pinkberry’s address at 263 Elm Street.
Several online petitions circulated earlier this year, framing the debate around the issue. A Change.org petition that gained almost 40 signatures aimed to deny Pinkberry a reapplication permit, citing the already limited parking in the area. Another petition from iPetitions.com garnered 184 signatures in support of the new Pinkberry location. The company itself collected 200 signatures from passersby in the square.
Davis dismissed complaints that Pinkberry’s addition to the Davis Square frozen yogurt scene is superfluous, noting that Pinkberry differs from competitors with its full-service rather than self-serve environment.
He added that although gaining the board’s approval was a difficult process, the franchise was overwhelmingly successful in the end.
“We passed the zoning board with a 100 percent approval,” he said.
Despite the chain’s confidence that its move into Somerville was appropriate, some students remain skeptical. Senior Rebecca Raskind does not believe that Pinkberry fits in with the atmosphere of Davis Square.
“It just feels like a chain, doesn’t feel very personal,” she said. “iYO has much more the feel of a cafe that happens to have [frozen yogurt], while Pinkberry is just pure chain, pure commercial.”
Raskind also took issue with Pinkberry’s decision to move into an area that already contains two established frozen yogurt restaurants.
“I think it’s pretty unnecessary, to be honest,” she said. “I think particularly, as it fits into Davis, the local businesses are better. I’d rather give [Orange Leaf and iYO] my business.”