By Karen Brainard
Just over a year after she originally intended to open a yogurt shop in Ramona, Carla Westhoff celebrated the grand opening of her All About Yogurt store.
“Finally!” Westhoff exclaimed just before the store opening last weekend.
Readers may remember Westhoff’s dilemma last year when she leased a space in the Stater Bros. shopping center on Main Street and was informed by the Ramona Municipal Water District (RMWD) that she would need to pay for additional sewer EDUs (equivalent dwelling units) and a sewer mitigation fee to operate a yogurt shop in that space. Those fees totaled over $32,000.
After appealing to the water district for a fee reduction, becoming the focus of a segment on KUSI’s Michael Turko show, and receiving support from the Ramona Chamber of Commerce — prompting RMWD to conduct an October 2010 public workshop on its sewer service fees — Westhoff had to concede and look for a new location.
She found that location at 1833 Main St. in the Kmart shopping center. This time she did not sign a lease until all requirements were approved by the water district.
“We had plenty of sewer EDUs,” she said, noting that the space had previously housed a nail salon. Westhoff said Sears, the owner of the shopping center, covered the $4,000 that was necessary for additional water EDUs.
Westhoff said she had to pay a $600 discharge fee to the water district but added, “In comparison to what I was told last year, less than $1,000 is good.”
As everything began to fall into place for her new Ramona location, Westhoff remarked, “After a year of heartache, it’s finally going to open.”
To decorate the shop, Westhoff said, “I wanted it bright and happy.” So, she said, she headed to Home Depot and looked at the Disney paint colors. Turning to Disney would seem fitting due to its slogans, “The Happiest Place on Earth” and “Where Dreams Come True.”
All About Yogurt’s multi-color walls call to mind the many types of yogurt. Disney’s “forest sunset” paint could initiate a craving for orange burst sorbet, while “Sleeping Beauty pink” could make one think of the non-dairy Jolly Rancher tropical tremor pomegranate raspberry sorbet. The “green with envy” wall hints at the pistachio frozen yogurt. A teal blue “sea life” and yellow “Main Street lights” round out the colorful shop.
All About Yogurt has 12 self-serve machines that on any given day may offer nonfat frozen yogurt flavors of root beer float, Irish mint, New York cheesecake, and premium frozen yogurt flavors of red velvet or peanut butter. No-added sugar and tart flavors are also available. Customers can pick from an assortment of fruits, candy, nuts and other toppings to add to their yogurt.
Besides tables inside and out and a counter with stools lining the store’s window, Westhoff has a couch and a big screen TV. She also plans to have Wi-Fi available.
Westhoff’s mother, Pauline Litka of Ramona, will help manage the store, and her daughter, Lisse Litka-Baughman, a junior at Ramona High School, will also pitch in. Westhoff said she would like to become involved in sponsoring teams, including her daughter’s high school swim team.