Truly Yogurt owner Gary Goldman is selling the Grove Street ice cream and frozen yogurt shop he’s owned since 1992 to the Marcus family, longtime customers who pledge to keep the spirit of the Wellesley institution intact.
“The last thing we want to change is what it means to Wellesley,” says Steve Marcus, a longtime friend of Goldman’s who shares a passion for chatting about business and the Red Sox. “It’s a warm place with good values, high quality ice cream and yogurt, with fair prices and generous portions. Local kids work there, learning responsibilities in what for many is their first job.”
Approval of the exchange of the common victualler’s license for Truly Yogurt is on Monday’s Board of Selectmen agenda.
Goldman told us a couple of years ago, when Truly Yogurt was celebrating its 25th anniversary, the story of how he came to own and operate the shop. “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.”
Marcus, whose son Jeffrey will manage the shop along with a colleague, has gotten to know Goldman over the years and at one point threw his name in the hat as a possible buyer in the event that Truly might be sold. A retired marketing executive who lived in Wellesley for a couple of decades before relocating to Weston, Marcus says he had no lifelong urge to open an ice cream shop. But with Truly becoming available he did see an opportunity to keep an iconic business going. After all, thousands of customers would be counting on someone to do so.
“My family has a lot of great memories of coming to Truly, and we still do,” says Marcus, whose wife Deborah is the family’s tasting expert. Marcus somewhat sheepishly identified vanilla as his favorite flavor, though has become more adventurous in recent years by swirling it with black raspberry. “Soft serve all the way,” he says.
(Side note: One of my Truly’s memories is of our son’s friend winning a year’s worth of ice cream at the shop, and the two of them taking full advantage of that…)
Truly Yogurt’s transition from the Goldman to Marcus family has been underway throughout the summer, with Goldman mentoring Jeffrey Marcus, who already has food service industry experience. The Marcus family’s experience with homey eateries also includes opening the Bakery on the Common in Natick years ago.
Going forward, Marcus expects 99% of what Truly Yogurt has been doing to stay the same. After all, when a business becomes known by a nickname, you know it’s doing something right, he says.
One significant change, though, will be a fresh focus on eco-friendly packaging and operations. That will include taking a hard look at everything from ice cream containers to spoons to lighting and delivery schedules.
And just because Goldman is selling the business doesn’t mean he won’t be around. Sure, he’ll have more time to relax. But he’s staying on as a paid advisor to the Marcuses, and will be on hand to greet customers by name just as he’s done over the years.