Shop opened in 2018, has become a hit with locals

By Mike Huguenor

It was Father’s Day 2018 when Michelle White went to Yogurt Land and found that the store had closed overnight. The machines were ripped out. A “For Lease” sign hung in the window.

For most people it would have been an annoyance, but for White it was destiny. For nearly 30 years, she had been carrying with her a very specific dream.

“I wanted to start a yogurt shop,” she said.

The dream began in the ‘90s, when White was a student double majoring in business and community recreation at San Jose State University.

The granddaughter of famed SJSU track coach Bud Winter, she too had taken up marathon running. Often, her runs would end at a nearby yogurt place, where she would cool down, and treat herself to a healthy reward. One day, she began to think about opening her own business.

“I kind of envisioned doing a fun run starting or ending at the yogurt shop. Have it be a community thing,” she said.

While still a student, she put together a business plan, some cash, and designed a logo, but she couldn’t find a location. Then, life got in the way. Soon after graduating, White moved to Washington, where she got a job as a Community Activities Director on a U.S. Air Force base. In the early 2000s, she moved to Morgan Hill and started working in Los Gatos.

Then came Father’s Day 2018. Within a month, she had signed a lease on her decades-long dream.

“I definitely had to relearn some things,” the first-time business owner said. “I had a business plan from 1991 that I had to seriously rebuild.”

While the shop’s soft-serve machines were still on back order, White traveled the country to search for the right product for her shop. After visiting seven different distributors, she settled on an all-organic, high-end dairy creamery in Arkansas.

“In California, what typically happens with frozen yogurt is they take a bucket, yogurt powder, and water, and they stir it,” White said. “It’s cheaper that way, but I don’t do that. I get my yogurt frozen, pasteurized, in sealed jugs.”

Yes Yogurt & Frozen Treats officially opened in Oct. 2018. It has become a hit with locals. Shortly after opening on a recent Friday afternoon, all three of the shop’s tables were filled with customers trying out White’s 14 different flavors of yogurt, gelato, and Italian Ice.

On Yelp, 32 of 38 reviews give the dessert spot five stars, including more than one praising the location’s two additional yogurt flavors for dogs: peanut-butter banana, and apple-cheddar.

“There were only two companies I could find that did yogurt for dogs, and the other company had a bunch of sugar and junk in it,” White said. “This one is like the Whole Foods of dog yogurt, if you will.”

For humans, the selection includes a variety of sugar-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free options like the Italian Ice, which is satisfyingly smooth, and tastes like a cross between soft-serve and a slushie.

While the prices are a little higher than when the shop was a Yogurt Land, that is the cost of running truly local business rather than a franchise — not to mention one with a notably higher quality product..

Now, more than a year into business, and re-opening after it was forced to close due to the global pandemic, Yes Yogurt plans to hold regular community fundraisers, including hosting that 5K run White dreamed up about almost 30 years ago.

In the meantime, White is learning about a decidedly 21st century side of business.

“I think my biggest challenge is I’m not so much social media oriented,” she said. “That’s the next chapter.”

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