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Time Machine

If you have read the Time Machine by H.G. Wells or seen the movie adaptation, you may recall a recurring part of the story: George watching the change of women’s fashion on a mannequin in the window of a dress shop across the street as he travels through time. He finds the whimsy of change and cycles of fashion amusing.

Living in NYC is just like this. In the 1980s, we had numerous small indoor roller skating rinks during the height of disco. There was a gelati craze for a brief time, with the opening of numerous gelateria. Many of these were beautifully designed, and the products in the places I visited were excellent. Yet they have all closed. We also saw Steve’s ice cream, known for their customized mix-ins – customers enjoyed the theater of the mixing. One of the best ice creams I have had was Custard Beach, with locations in the Village and World Financial Center, now closed.

Now we have a frozen yogurt/desert revival, with Pinkberry and Red Mango across the street from each other on Bleecker Street and Yolato around the corner (update: Pinkberry on Bleecker Street has since closed.).
Pinkberry, based in Los Angeles, was started in 2005 by South Koreans Hyekyung (Shelly) Hwang and partner Young Lee. It is already a roaring success  with a cult following and tales of parking congestion at the original West Hollywood store (read the story here). The product is an upscale, healthy frozen desert in just two flavors (original and green tea). It is low-cal, low-sugar, and nonfat, with a distinct tang. Fresh cut fruit toppings are available.

Pinkberry’s interior appears to be part of a trend towards an Asian-styled, clinical, futuristic store design. Partner Young Lee has appointed the stores with Philippe Starck furniture and Le Klint plastic hanging lamps from Design Within Reach. I expect to see Teletubbies in the line. There is controversy surrounding Pinkberry and how it closely resembles Red Mango, a Korean frozen yogurt chain with 150 stores. And, of course, the phenomenon has spawned competitors: BerryLine, Yo Berry, Kiwiberri, Snowberry, Roseberry, Berri Good, Limelite, etc. Only a time machine will tell the future of this craze…

7 Responses to Time Machine

  1. Ice cream time machine is what it is, from high fat to lower and lower…
    nice that they put so much good design into the storefronts.

  2. Its interesting to see all these fashion fads come and go. In 10 years or so we’ll be saying “remember all those frozen yoghurt bars”!

  3. marley;
    One of the problems in business is how fast things move. One has to strike quickly. You have 1) rapid changes in trends and tastes 2) more competition coming on at a faster rate. Media, the Internet etc. all contribute to a much faster dissemination of information. Start a business today and everyone knows the details immediately.
    Make the money while you can.

  4. I like the colours in this photo. Boy, what a treat to go in there and order something!!!!


    Guelph Daily Photo, Pat’s Photo-a-Day

  5. southerngirl says:

    I read on an earlier post that the owners of the store frowned on photos being taken of the business. I does not appear anyone, though, was chasing you away here. Has the retail photo-sharing scare faded somewhat?

  6. oldmanlincoln says:

    It would be neat to be there and poke my head in to see what it looks and smells like.

    I hope you can come over and read about Charley.

  7. southerngirl;
    Yes, they do frown on photos – there is a no photo icon in the window. However, they really can’t stop anyone shooting from the outside – they may try, but it’s just intimidation. In my case, I was not even on the sidewalk so they would not bother.

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