SAINT JOHN – The goji’s at East Point has reopened its doors with a new look and more treat options.
The store is modeled after Moncton’s goji’s and now offers artisan hard ice cream, crepes, English toffee, caramel popcorn, and Peanut Brittle. It will continue serving frozen yogurt, smoothies, dipped cones, and other frozen items.
“[It has the] same look and feel, same softer aesthetic, warmer colours [as our flagship store in Moncton],” said Janette Zacharias, co-owner and co-founder of the Moncton-based company that now has 10 locations in Moncton, Dieppe, Fredericton, Grand Manan, Shediac, Charlottetown, Antigonish, Stellarton, Nova Scotia.
The Saint John location closed in January and was reopened by the company owners: Janette Zacharias, Jeff Zacharias, and Jim McDonald.
Janette and her husband Jeff originally owned goji’s with her two siblings and their spouses. Three years ago, they bought out their family members and McDonald, who was first hired as a consultant, joined the company as a co-owner.
“Jim came in and really started to influence the direction of the company,” said Janette in an interview with Huddle last spring. “He talked about the need to move away from the frozen yogurt identity, which now in Canada and the U.S. too, has a very negative identity or connotation.”
McDonald said goji’s expanded its menu to become more sustainable.
“We are in a business where from March to September it’s pretty good, but from September to late February there’s not much going on,” he said. “It was about sustaining cash flow and sales 12 months of the year opposed to five or six.”
Zacharias said the business starting rebranding two years ago to adapt to new changes in the frozen yogurt industry.
“We went to expanding our offerings, which made us expand the identity of the brand,” she said.
The new additions will be made at goji’s central kitchen in Moncton, where they have a distribution deal with Capital Foodservice, and shipped to Saint John a couple of times a week.
The items go through a distribution channel that the stores and network have access to.
“It’s challenging trying to find staff…to make these products in house,” said McDonald. “Our network is telling us, ‘we don’t mind, and actually in some cases, we prefer that it’s made in a central common area, it’s much easier for our staff.’”
McDonald says they would eventually like a local franchise owner in Saint John, but for the moment, they are focusing on being in the market.
Zacharias said they always wanted a store in the Saint John market and have had a good reception from the public.
“We’re definitely [putting] our emphasis on small-batch local production,” said Zacharias. “We are a small local company, so that’s important to people, that’s who we are.”
Huddle asked Zacharias and McDonald what their favourite goii’s treats were. McDonald went for drumsticks, and Zacharias said it’s difficult to pick one.
“I don’t have a favorite. That would be like saying ‘who is your favorite child?’ ”