Ryan Chartrand

The latest addition to the Yogurt Creations franchise offers enough toppings to satisfy even the pickiest frozen yogurt lover. The huge variety – including delicious cheesecake bites – is accompanied by an upscale style that is downright soothing. Owner John Bolton considers the new downtown San Luis Obispo location to be the franchise’s flagship store.

The first Yogurt Creations store opened in 2003 in Atascadero. Bolton opened a store in Arroyo Grande before arriving in San Luis Obispo on April 9.

“San Luis Obispo was a natural extension for us to come into,” Bolton said. “We’ve been waiting to come to San Luis Obispo for three to four years.”

It takes the former home of Mo’s on Court Street, which situates the new shop across the street from Bali’s Yogurt. But Bolton said he isn’t afraid of the competition he faces downtown.

“Competition is good,” he said. “The only people we’re here to satisfy are the customers.”

However, Bart Schwan, owner of Bali’s Yogurt, is not too excited about the extra competition and said he feels the two stores are a little too similar.

“I have to say I’m a little frustrated because I started the soft-serve yogurt in SLO, and I know other towns have soft-serve, but it’s frustrating when they set up right across the street,” Schwan said.

Bali’s, originally part of a deli on Foothill Boulevard, has been located downtown for 11 years and has a loyal following among locals and Cal Poly students. It has fared well, even with the introduction of G’s Italian Freeze and Coldstone Creamery just down the street.

“I think we got a better location, better reputation,” Schwan said, but he admitted Yogurt Creations has him considering changing Bali’s to keep up. Schwan might add toppings and is interested in receiving suggestions from Cal Poly students on how to improve the store.

Mostly, Schwan said he wants to offer the “best yogurt at the best price,” which currently costs 30 cents per ounce compared to Yogurt Creations’ 38 cents per ounce.

Yet Bolton, who graduated from Arroyo Grande High School and has lived in San Luis Obispo County his whole life, insists Yogurt Creations means no ill-intent with its location, and emphasizes that there’s only so many places to set up shop in downtown San Luis Obispo.

“We don’t compare ours to anyone. We just produce the best yogurt,” Bolton said. “We’re here to serve the whole Central Coast.”

Competition hasn’t hurt the several coffee shops downtown, which are always bustling with customers within a few feet of one another, so perhaps it can be said that San Luis Obispo will probably enjoy two self-serve yogurt shops for years to come.

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