Sharing Excitement

Every time I’m at Yoga-urt, people are asking me about the Echo Park store and telling me how excited they are for it. People are messaging me on social media. Emailing through the website. And just sharing their excitement.

It means the world to me.

First of all, I’m spending money like crazy on Yoga-urt #2 and it’s scary. These things are expensive and big financial risks, but knowing people are waiting for it to open brings some reassurance that it will all work out.

Second of all, although my family is excited for me, my family is preoccupied with other things, most significantly my mom’s struggle with Parkinson’s Disease and overall health. Over the years since Yoga-urt opened in 2015, her health has deteriorated a great deal to the point where she barely leaves her house and has a caregiver most of the day. It has been extremely hard on her and the whole family.

And my mom needs to have an outpatient surgery very soon for a kidney stone, might be around the time Yoga-urt #2 opens which is very stressful and hard. Overwhelming for me. And will once again pull my family in different directions and I just really hope her surgery can happen in June so I can be more present for all.

My dad is as involved as he can be, but has real limitations under the circumstances. And my sister is with her family in OC, and I have no idea really if she will come out to support.

It saddens me that my family can’t be involved in the way that I would like or wish but I’m trying to accept it in a loving way.

Although I hope my family can be a huge part of the Echo Park opening, I’ve decided that either way, I will celebrate the opening of the Echo Park store with my Yoga-urt family – my team and our customers.

And I can’t wait to celebrate!

This last week was very stressful. My GC and I had a few tough moments. Conversations that we had weeks ago that weren’t remembered. Changes needed to pass inspections. Where things go. Who pays for what. There were some tense moments but we are good now. Onward!

We made so much progress this past week. Floor was finished. All equipment was delivered. Cameras and music were installed. Lights and AC were on and working. Subway tile went up. Shelving went up. Started training people at the Glendale store. Graphics were sent for printing.

We start final inspections this week, but the final health inspection probably won’t be until next week. Really hoping for smooth inspections but you never know. So stressful!

We also start the big PR/Marketing push on May 1st. We have a great press kit and video and will reach out to all we can to get Yoga-urt the love and recognition it deserves.

As for the opening date, can’t confirm until final inspections are passed but we are getting close! Still SO much to do though. I am way overwhelmed but up for the challenge as I bring this baby home!

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Here We Go!

Here we go is right!

We are probably 3-4 weeks away from opening the Echo Park store as long as we don’t get anymore curveballs.

The place is finally starting to look like Yoga-urt although not there yet. The most exciting thing was to see our exterior sign go up – it’s beautiful! And then our new gate went up. Paint is almost done, mural is up, counter is almost done, and floor is being done this weekend. Next week, all the equipment will be delivered and lots of details have to be done.

I’m really starting to feel the pressure now. All of the stuff that I pushed off dealing with until the end I now have to deal with.

I have to go back to the health department and the city to get some changes signed off on. I have to order all of the items left on the list like chairs & tables. And the thing that is occupying a lot of my time is interviewing potential team members, calling references, offering jobs and soon to be training. Not to mention finalizing the press kit, getting graphics and signs for the store, and soon ordering all the ingredients, toppings, etc. Putting the recipe book together. Buying a safe. The list is endless.

I’m at the point where I need to prioritize as I can’t do it all at once. So that is what I’m doing. And it’s stressful that this has all taken longer than I thought for a million different reasons. I lose money every week we don’t open and there is a lot of planning involved around the opening date which we still don’t know.

I just keep telling myself a week delay here, a day delay there, won’t kill us. To just push as hard as I can and then accept what comes. And try to enjoy the ride. Because once we open, everything shifts in a way that I can’t control.

Over the next few weeks some new Echo Park hires will be training at the Glendale store. It’s going to be a bit crazy, but should get us off to a good start when Echo Park opens.

The countdown is on and after being pregnant for 9 months (literally signed the lease 9 months ago), the baby is coming soon.

Here we go!

Vegan Street Fair & Smorgasburg

In the last few months, we’ve done a couple of festivals/events.

Back in February, we were signed up to do Super Vegan Sunday at Smorgasburg which is where Smorgasburg increases their vegan options for this one Sunday each year. We had prepped big time for this, but around 8pm the night before it was cancelled because of bad rain.

What a bummer, both financially and because of all the prep that went into it. I had spent the last 24 hours getting us ready and my team prepped for weeks. But I thought it was the right decision under the circumstances. We were offered a few make up dates and so we came out the following 2 Sunday’s. It rained one of the Sunday’s so it was pretty much a waste of time. And the 2nd Sunday was much better but it was still a cold day. I think I realized that maybe it’s best not to do events in the winter.

And then we had Vegan Street Fair a few weekends ago, which was our 4th time there and the very 1st event we ever did back in 2016. This event is the biggest vegan festival in the country. In the past, we’ve had nonstop lines, but wasn’t sure what it would be like because it was expanded to 2 days, weather wasn’t the best, and lots more vendors.

Plus, for the 1st time for VSF, no one from my family came to help and they are like my safety net. I had to rely solely on my team but everyone showed up and did a great job.

We introduced a new flavor and brought some favorites. The first day was good but not great, but we still managed to almost sell out of everything we btought. But the second day was great. We had nonstop lines for most of the day which I’m so grateful for.

It was interesting because for both of these events this year, we did not get a lot of love from the social media influencers. In the past, we have, so I honestly didn’t know how that would impact us. Definitely for Vegan Street Fair, it didn’t seem to matter. People came to our booth, waited in line, and we had one of the longest lines there.

We completely sold out of the soft serve scoops on Sunday which is great for many reasons, including that it makes it so much easier to pack up at the end of the night.

And then when I got back to the store around 8:30pm – for the first time ever – we were sold out of all of our soft serve in the machine. Nothing was left. All we had were pints & ice cream sandwiches. Craziness!!! Luckily o had 2 soft serve makers coming on Monday morning to get us caught up for Monday.

Man, these events are a lot of work. That’s why we do just a select few each year. They are physically hard and since I’ve had back issues, I have to make sure I have enough help for the heavy lifting. And the days are like 16 hour days for me. Exhausting!

But it’s fun meeting people, seeing our friends, trying other food, etc. Doing another small event in Orange County this Saturday, our first time in the OC.

But then that’s it until after the Echo Park store opens. I need to focus. Things are moving full steam ahead and it’s time to make it happen!