By DAVID BORAKS
After a year in business, the Red Mango frozen yogurt shop in Davidson Commons has shut its doors, citing high costs and disappointing sales. The local owners say they also won’t reopen a second shop off N.C. 73 in Huntersville that had closed for the winter.
The Davidson shop served its last customer on Saturday, then posted a sign saying “Sorry, Out of Business.”
“Just didn’t make it. Costs too high and not enough customers,” Paul Carini, an owner of the local shop said in a brief telephone interview Tuesday.
At the Huntersville Red Mango, in the Staples and Marshall’s shopping center, a sign says the shop closed for the winter on Oct. 21, and directs customers to the Davidson store, which is now closed. Mr. Carini said Tuesday that store won’t reopen either.
“Unfortunately, after trying hard to find a way to re-open or keep open the stores, the numbers just wouldn’t work,” he said.
Red Mango self-serve frozen yogurt shops originated in South Korea and have been spreading nationwide in the U.S. over the past five years, typically as locally owned franchises. Nationally, the chain is still opening stores, and recently celebrated 200th location in Texas. That’s up from just 130 a year ago.
The Davidson shop opened in October 2011 at Davidson Commons, the Harris Teeter shopping center off I-77 Exit 30. The Huntersville store in November 2010.
The frozen yogurt shop was a favorite among students from nearby private and charter schools and Davidson College as well as local families. It specialized in exotic flavors such as Mango, Dark Chocolate, White Peach, and Madagascar Vanilla, and let patrons choose their own toppings, from fruits and nuts to candies and sauces.
Kim Fleming, the town of Davidson’s community and economic development manager, said that as a regular customer, she was “personally upset.” From a business standpoint, she did not expect the closing.
“I’m surprised by it because all of our spaces (in town), retail and office, are filling up,” she said Tuesday. “We have high occupancy rates and those are increasing.”
While Red Mango was a “great addition” to the local retail mix, she said, “I don’t think we’ll have a problem filling that space.” Next year’s opening of the new MSC Industrial Direct Corp. headquarters nearby should help keep up demand for retail space in the Exit 30 area, including Davidson Commons, she said.
One other ground floor restaurant went out of business last year, the Donato’s Pizza, which closed in September 2011.
Davidson Commons shopping center was sold for $15.9 million this summer to Kimco Realty Corp. of New York. At the time, the company said the center was 86 percent leased.
Carolina Cones in Cornelius also is taking the winter off again this year, through March 15. Our Around Davidson columnist Brenda Barger stopped in at the season ending free cone day Saturday. See Nov. 13, 2012, Around Davidson, “Behind the scenes and ice cream.”