Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Business

May 14, 2014

7 Below Zero provides a taste of cool

Yogurt shop opens at Kyova

CANNONSBURG — Despite a series of setbacks as they worked to open their new shop, the owners of the new 7 Below Zero frozen yogurt shop are now tempting customers to the Kyova Mall with 15 flavors of the cold stuff and rows of toppings to customize each order.

Kevin Leatherman of Wadsworth Ohio, said he began consulting with his accountant, Steve Thompson, about new-business ideas after he sold an Internet company and needed a new outlet for his professional interests. While researching possibilities, Letterman said he remembered his late father’s passion for a “yogurt/slushie place” they often visited while on vacation in Florida, and his interest in having such a place closer to home. He noticed other frozen yogurt shops popping up in the area around the same time Thompson visited the Yoasis frozen yogurt shop in Russell.

“I was impressed and asked Kevin to look into it,” Thompson said, laughing as he added, “When you tell Kevin to look into something ...”

“He looks into it to death,” Leatherman said with a chuckle as he completed his business partner’s sentence.

Thompson said he completed a highly conservative study of the business and they were soon putting their heads together to formulate a business plan, also visiting every frozen yogurt business they could find to field test products and equipment alike. “Every place you go has something you like,” Thompson noted.

After checking out potential locations on both sides of the Ohio River, they selected the Kyova Mall as the home for their first shop.

“The movie theater was one of the biggest drawing factors,” Leatherman said, adding the mall also gave them the option of an outside entrance as well as a door adjacent to the cinemas, allowing them to set their own hours and remain open an hour later than the mall’s inside shops.

“It’s a perfect scenario because we have a great restaurant (Callihan’s) next door and the movies,” Thompson said, adding they developed an outdoor seating area to allow customers to enjoy their treats, and enjoy the live music from the next-door-down patio. “And, Kyova has great parking.”

The shop owners also appreciated the mall location because the Boyd County Public Library has a branch there, as well as a county clerk’s office, and thousands upon thousands of cars passing by on U.S. 60 each day.  

Pointing out their extensive research before investing in a brand of frozen yogurt or the machines that dispense the products, Leatherman and Thompson said they were highly selective about what they wanted to offer at 7 Below Zero.

“We probably tasted every yogurt store within 100 miles,” Thompson said, explaining they both concluded there is tremendous variation in the basic frozen yogurts offered by different manufacturers.

“It is the same with the equipment,” Leatherman added, explaining they bought machines that provide the best texture and air content to present frozen yogurt at its peak.

Each of the owners has a favorite flavor, with Leatherman prefering a soda-based flavor and Thompson as a fan of a traditional ice cream flavor.

“My favorite is probably the root beer float. If you like root beer floats, it is phenomenal,” Leatherman said.

“Butter pecan,” Thompson chimed in without hesitation. “Before that it was salted pretzel caramel.”

7 Below Zero, which takes its name from the celsius translation for the typical holding temperature of frozen yogurt (around 17 degrees fahrenheit), has eight employees and also offers frozen-yogurt push-ups and pies, as well as gourmet coffee selections. The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 12:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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