February 10, 2015

Fro-yo firm fights University-backed competitor

ZBerry, a local frozen yogurt shop on East 53rd Street and Kenwood Avenue, closed for the remainder of the winter this year, according to owner Zenzille Powell.

Powell told the Hyde Park Herald that the push to reduce operating costs during the winter months is in part a response to a new frozen yogurt chain store, Red Mango, which opened this summer nearby on Harper Court. Red Mango operates nearly identically to ZBerry, offering self-serve yogurt and a toppings bar, and ZBerry sales have dropped since the rival store has opened.

The introduction of Red Mango to the 53rd Street area is part of a University initiative in partnership with the city of Chicago to bring new businesses to Hyde Park, particularly to Harper Court on 53rd Street. The University leases land to businesses through the company Lake Park Associates, using property tax to fund the project. Several of the businesses that the University brings in have already proved successful on the North Side.

While many in Hyde Park believe the University’s initiative is generally a positive development, some local customers and storeowners like Powell are also concerned about the effects it will have on local businesses, as Red Mango appears to be having on ZBerry.

The store will reopen in mid-March.