GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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March 19, 2013

New 'Leaf' on Rogers Street

Frozen yogurt shop to use long-vacant Bell building

The small, long-vacant, building in the Main Street plaza, will churn with life for the first time since it’s initial 2008 construction when construction crews convert the building shell into a pay-by-the-ounce frozen yogurt franchise, topped off with curvy plastic chairs and a decor coated in peachy orange and limey green shades.

Three long-time business partners, including a Gloucester native, hope to open by the end of May a franchise of the frozen yogurt company Orange Leaf in the small, leased building at 102 Rogers St., the building that shares a parking lot with Walgreens and sits across the street from the Whale Center of New England building.

“As soon as the permit’s given to us this week or next week, we’ll be out there renovating the building,” said Eric Broadhurst, one of the co-owners.

The $300,000 renovations on the 1,500-square-foot building, according to Broadhurst, will add on a 400 square foot patio and convert what is now a shell of a building — still with dirt floors — into a 75 flavors of frozen yogurt-doling franchise. The business will remain open year round on a daily basis, he said.

Developer Mac Bell, who owns the plaza, erected the building shell in 2008, after tearing down what was then a longstanding brick water-vending shed. The vending stand was relocated to alongside Dunkin’ Donuts, still selling water at 35 cents per gallon, and up went current building. Though Bell initially met with a number of potential clients, including a hair salon business, a restaurant and an insurance company, however, the building has never had a tenant and remained vacant since.

Though business partners, Broadhurt, Dennis Metayar, and Gloucester High School Class of 1985 graduate Sean Nickerson, have teamed up in the past six years to open six health clubs under the name Choice Fitness, Gloucester’s Orange Leaf will act as their first food industry franchise. And the team hopes to see their 22 to-be-hired employees selling off frozen treats before the start of summer.

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