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New treat shop features frozen yogurt

n When a mother and daughter team up to open Yo Central, the results are a new treat shop that combines frozen yogurt and baked goodies

by: BILL MINTIENS/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - From left: Mother and daughter team, Chris Haley and Traci Haley, of Yo Central, located at 455 N.E. Third St. in Prineville.

What do you get when you combine a dynamic mother-daughter baking/culinary arts team with a desire to open a new downtown treat shop?
   Yo Central of course. Prineville’s newest yummy treat shop is set to open this month.
   Co-owners Traci (daughter) and Chris (mother) Haley, 25-year residents of Prineville, combined their passions for ice cream and baked goods into the new business.
   “I’ve always had the desire for a career in culinary arts but nothing really clicked until this yogurt idea came along,” said Traci.
   “And we’ve always been ice cream lovers but when we tried frozen yogurt for the first time we said we’re never eating ice cream again,” added Chris.
   Yo Central will not be a run-of-the-mill frozen yogurt shop however. And it starts with the fact that YoCream® is an Oregon-based product with “healthy” attributes.
   “It’s a higher quality frozen yogurt and the first to get certified with live active cultures in their yogurts,” said Traci.
   Yo Central will purchase YoCream® frozen yogurt from YoCream International. Headquartered in Portland, the company’s dairy and manufacturing facility was established in 1977. The company was acquired by The Dannon Company, Inc., in 2010.
   Yo Central will initially offer eight flavors of YoCream® frozen yogurt in a self-serve format, so the customer can control the buying experience.
   “People in general are more health conscious these days, so they’ll be able to choose their flavor, toppings, and portion size,” said Chris.
   In addition to frozen yogurt, Yo Central will also provide Traci an opportunity to pursue her passion for baking.
   “We’re going to offer a variety of my baked goodies. Homemade Belgian waffles, fancy, decorated sugar cookies, and more,” added Traci.
   Pricing-wise, Yo Central will be very competitive with other yogurt shops in Central Oregon.
   “A customer, after creating their treat, will pay based on weight. We’ll charge between 42 and 43 cents per ounce. In Bend, it’s common to see between 45 and 47 cents per ounce,” said Traci.
   The risks of starting any new business are large, but the new owners feel well-prepared for the challenge. The pair have owned and operated the Our Place Adult Foster Home, in Prineville, since 2003.
   With many years working in assisted living facilities, Chris manages Our Place while Traci manages the entire kitchen operation. The pair feels well-equipped to handle the stress of another business.
   “Between the two of us, we believe we can handle both businesses,” said Chris.
   Prior to managing the kitchen at Our Place, Traci spent 12 years at the Crook County Library, in Youth Services.
   “I created a lot of promotional events at the library, and I’m looking forward to using social media to promote Yo Central. We already have a Facebook page and this will help us find out what the public likes and wants,” said Traci.
   Promotions already being planned include a “punch card” for multiple purchases (buy ten yogurts, get $2 off your next purchase), and gift cards.
   “I’m already coming up with promotional ideas and tie-ins with other local businesses,” added Traci.
   The owners believe the shop’s location — 455 N.E. Third Street, right next to the 7-Eleven® — along with the creative remodeling (by Marshall Bex Construction) will be a big draw.
   “We’re going for vibrant colors and design inside. Marshall Bex came up with a lot of the design ideas. It’s going to be a fun place to visit,” said Traci.
   Chris and Traci both feel that Prineville is ready to start recovering from the recession.
   “I really feel like Prineville has started to climb out of the hole we were in a few years ago. Things are really feeling better in town now,” said Chris.
   Yo Central
   Located on 455 N.E. Third St.
   Phone: 541-447-4661
   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
   Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/yocentraloregon