We’ve seen ice cream and frozen yogurt shops come and go over the years in Wellesley, but Truly Yogurt has been a mainstay at 35 Grove St. for 25 years now. Regardless of how hot or cold it is outside, customers have flocked to Gary Goldman’s shop.
In anticipation of Truly celebrating its 25h anniversary beginning at noon on Sunday, April 9 (expect entertainment, celebrity scoopers, and possibly 1992-style prices and t-shirts), we asked Goldman to reflect on his business and look to the future.
How’d you get into the business?
My wife and I are both from the area, but we met working at the same company in New Jersey. We were happy there, but after we had our kids, we knew we wanted to come back to the area to be closer to our families and the free babysitting. I was interviewing for corporate jobs up here, but nothing seemed to be working out, and I stumbled upon this little ice cream shop that was for sale in 1992. It was decorated all in pink and it looked like an ice cream store on a tropical island. I had experience in accounting, retail merchandising, and finance– not ice cream. I came in and started making the soft serve myself. I started carrying new flavors, introduced a lot of new toppings and items for sale.
Has it always been in the same spot?
While Truly Yogurt has always been located at 35 Grove St. in Wellesley, the store has undergone a ton of changes. We never had this many soft serve flavors as today (about two dozen are listed on the shop’s website). Our following has grown considerably, too.
Any sense of how many people have worked at the shop?
That’s like asking me to count the number of freckles on my redheaded son. I honestly don’t know for sure. I add about 15 new employees every year … so I’d say about 375 employees over the years.
How many customers served?
Well if we count the people that come in every single day (it’s true, and we love them)…In 25 years I figure have served over 1.5 million customers. Watch out McDonald’s!
How many flavors have you had over the years?
We have carried 200 flavors over the years
What’s your favorite flavor and how much frozen yogurt do you consume?
I get that question all the time. My favorite flavor is anything chocolate. But honestly I don’t eat much. I taste test the soft serve every day and any new flavors that I bring in just to make sure it’s up to standard. That’s it, just taste tests.
What flavor did you think would be a hit but flopped?
Key lime pie and S’mores did not go over with my customers. But generally I’m a pretty good predictor of what people are going to find tasty and appealing. [Editor’s note: I, for the record, love key lime pie anything]
What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened at the shop?
We have had several famous visitors, like Will Ferrell, Aly Raisman and Mindy Kaling. Ray Allen used to come in when he played for the Celtics. There was also a movie filmed in front of the store called Thoroughbred.
You’ve seen competitors come and go, and ice cream/frozen yogurt trends come and go. What sort of changes do you see ahead in the next 12 or so months?
Businesses in general have had to adapt to consumer demand for healthier options and more eco-friendly business practices. We are going to be more sustainable. For example, no more plastic bags, and the paper bags will be made out of 100% recyclable material. I think non-dairy alternatives are going to stay popular, as well as a focus on real ingredients, not fake pre-made mixes that some of the chain frozen yogurt shops tend to offer.
How much longer do you see yourself running the shop?
Check back with me in 25 years 😉
(Swellesley readers: Anyone got any real classic Truly stories? If so, feel free to share here: firstname.lastname@example.org)