Menchie’s: Reviving a Lost Piece of Americana
Co-Founder Danna Caldwell often refers to Menchie’s as “a love story.” She and her husband, co-founder Adam Caldwell, went on their first date to a frozen yogurt place where you could add your own toppings. Excited by the different flavors, the rainbow sprinkles and the business possibilities, Danna and Adam hatched an idea that night in Orange County, Calif., to open a well-branded, family-friendly, self-serve frozen yogurt store in the Los Angeles area. As their idea to start a frozen dessert store blossomed, so did their relationship.
In 2007 the couple opened their first frozen yogurt shop, naming it Menchie’s after Adam’s pet name for his bride-to-be. After opening their first store, Menchie’s CEO Amit Kleinberger partnered with them and laid out a vision to create a global brand.
The team set out to develop more than just a frozen yogurt chain.
“I’ve always been fond of soda fountains from the 1940s and ’50s,” Danna says. “Soda fountains were places you could go to and hang out with friends, bring a date, bring kids for a treat or meet family after a movie or for dessert. Soda fountains were, for many people, the center of life outside home and work and a place you went when you wanted to be with friends and family, smile and enjoy time together.”
When shopping malls came along and displaced downtown shopping, the soda fountain disappeared. “We lost those precious places where we could enjoy each other’s company,” Danna says.
In some ways, coffee shops have taken the place of soda fountains. Still, most people don’t think of them as a family hangout, and they also tend to be places where people go to get their caffeine and speed up. We wanted a space where everyone could slow down.
“I do have a sweet tooth, but for me the attraction to starting Menchie’s wasn’t the desserts themselves, it was creating a place where people would enjoy the visit the way people used to at soda fountains and the way Adam and I enjoyed our first date,” Danna says.
Today, you can find our signature pink-and-green stores across the globe. Under Amit’s leadership, we have adopted “We Make You Smile” as our mission statement. Indeed, when you visit a Menchie’s, you’ll see kids playing with Menchie’s free stickers and toys or teens wearing Menchie’s T-shirts and hoodies. You’ll see couples on dates, parents with their kids, and entire families, often with several generations visiting at a time. People are drawing on the chalkboard, comparing their frozen dessert creations and having a good time.
We are not trend followers, and we were not trying to target a specific demographic. We want to create an environment where anyone could enjoy both their time together and the dessert. We are universal, Timeless, and we belong to everyone, every community around the world!
We’ve got fruity flavors, tart flavors, sorbet flavors and no-sugar added flavors and a really wide range of toppings. There’s something to bring out the kid in everyone, no matter how young or old – We will make you smile.