About a year ago when Berry Chill filed for bankruptcy and later shuttered all of their locations, CEO and owner Michael Farah promised they would be back. Well, he wasn't lying. The company spent time restructuring and bringing in new investors, and Farah feels that the company, "is a lot stronger now."
Expect Berry Chill to reopen in a new location not far from their former State Street flagship. The target date is mid-May but they aren't announcing an exact date or location just yet.
Since Berry Chill closed, a number of new yogurt shops have popped up around Chicago. Forever Yogurt, as one example, continues to expand, and may even be considering the original Berry Chill flagship as a possible location. Farah, however, doesn't seem to be too worried about the competition. "The other yogurt shops, they all use a similar yogurt mix. We are the only ones that have a proprietary recipe," he said. "We are serving a superior product, and people know the difference."
Berry Chill has a large presence on Twitter and Facebook and the company plans to offer specials and first-hand information via social media. And will they open additional locations down the line? Farah said there will be more, but are taking things slow. "A big reason for our failure was opening stores in the Loop; it's hard to run a business there, " Farah said. "We know where our customers come from and we plan to open locations where we know we can be successful this time around."
· It's Getting Berry Chill-y [~EChi~]
· Forever Yogurt Expanding to 12 shops in 2011; 3 in March [~EChi~]
Berry Chill [Photo: WhitneyJane/Flickr]
UPDATE: We received word from Sue McCloskey, who along with her husband, Mike, legally owns Berry Chill, having bought it out of bankruptcy court. McCloskey informed us that Farah no longer owns the Berry Chill name or recipe and can't re-launch the brand. "Michael Farah lost his ownership of Berry Chill through bankruptcy and does not own anything related to Berry Chill," McCloskey wrote. "As of today, we have no plans to resurrect the business or name of Berry Chill."
When we emailed Farah, he claimed, despite us asking specifically about Berry Chill, that the name never came up during our interview. Farah said he's working on opening a different concept and said he intentionally was being vague about it (news to us). In a follow-up email, he said, "Berry Chill will be no longer, but my new concept is gonna rock Chicago." Looks like we'll all have to be the judge when that happens.