Just eight months after leaving his 20-year career at Foxwoods Casino, Greg Kosma’s dream is already expanding.
Monday, the 38-year-old Griswold resident has opened his second self-serve frozen yogurt store, Frogeez, on the second level of the Crystal Mall. His store is located where Haagen-Dazs used to be, as he believes he is hitting a market that has otherwise been neglected in Southeastern Connecticut.
“I definitely realized that the market (for frozen yogurt) was here and I tried to jump on the opportunity,” Kosma said. “We jumped in this as a small business and tried to gain the support of the community, and I think we started off well.”
Kosma’s opened his first store in Groton and he said he is considering opening another either in Niantic or in the Norwich area. He said the Crystal Mall was a good fit for his second store and hopes the holiday season will mean a large, fresh batch of customers for the frozen yogurt shop.
“We were trying to find our best location in Waterford," Kosma said. “(Simon) gave us a really good opportunity. And here we are, we’ll try it out.”
Kosma named his store Frogeez because his nickname as a kid was "frogee." The Crystal Mall store is a self-service frozen yogurt shop with eight different flavors of frozen yogurt from espresso to cupcake and a variety of different toppings.
People come in and choose whatever frozen yogurt they want and then top it with whatever toppings they want. Then they weigh it, with the cost $.49 an ounce.
After opening his first store in Groton in March, Kosma spent months trying to figure the best location for a second store. He felt the Crystal Mall, especially during the busy holiday season, would be a good fit signed a “short-term lease” with the mall.
Kosma said he believes the store will be busier during the holiday season, while his store in Groton will likely slow down thanks to the colder weather. He said he is considering other locations in East Lyme and Norwich, although is very particular with what he’ll take.
“We understand the importance of location,” Kosma said. “We are not just going to open one wherever. We are doing a lot of studying and a lot of focus of where we will be the most successful.”
Kosma opened the Waterford store with eight employees, the same number of employees he has at his Groton store. He is hoping that the Waterford team will be as reliable as the Groton team, which he said gives him one a rare luxury for a small business owner – time off.
“I have a phenomenal crew at the (Groton) store,” Kosma said. “They all are great kids and they all do a great job, and I expect the same out of (the Waterford) guys.”
On Monday, Evan Gauntt – an employee at the store Toy Vault in the mall – was the Crystal Mall Frogeez’s first customer when he bought a pomegranate frozen yogurt. Gauntt said he used to go to the Groton Frogeez “all the time” and was already planning his Monday afternoon yogurt after buying one Monday morning.
“It is really good,” Gauntt said. “I’m happy it is going to be so close now.”