If you have an insatiable sweet tooth like myself, you may have been upset to see the closed doors of the Sweet Alley candy and yogurt shop at 1103A State St. If you’re like me, the vacated building and missing fixtures left you feeling cold and empty and all the more in need of something sweet. Well chin up, this juicy bit of news might just lift your spirits.
Owner Geoffrey Friedman confirmed rumors that the shop is not going out of business, but is merely going to the land of sugar and caffeine-fiending college students. After nearly five years downtown, Friedman decided during these economic dark days to move shop to Embarcadero Del Mar in Isla Vista where he feels residents “are very loyal to the shops in I.V.” He goes on to say, “You can attract a lot of walkers and bikers. It’s definitely got the right demographic and will be a good thing for both of us.”
Friedman says his decision to move was not due to rent-related issues as are many other downtown situations and noted a bright spot in the usual bitter tenant-landlord struggles. He said of the owner of his downtown building: “My landlord, Ron Gallo, was such a good guy, he actually offered lower rent when the economy went south. That wasn’t my issue with being downtown though, my lease was up and business was down, but he was an amazingly fair landlord-straightforward and honest.”
Now that’s sweet, but not quite as sweet as the upgrades Friedman plans to incorporate into the new and improved Sweet Alley. While his downtown shop focused more on bin candy, Friedman says his new one will feature 10 flavors of self-serve frozen yogurt and a wide variety of add-it-yourself toppings. But he’s not stopping there; he will also be selling 12 flavors of McConnell’s ice cream. The ice cream will be scooped for the customer and then each customer gets to add the toppings.
While there has recently been a wave of self-serve yogurt and mix-ins opening around Southern California, Friedman notes the importance of incorporating the idea to the realm of ice cream, “Not everyone likes frozen yogurt, and I didn’t want anyone to miss out on the sundae bar. You gotta take everyone coming into the store into consideration,” he said. Milkshakes and McFlurry-style treats, but with yogurt in place of ice cream, are also on the menu.
In addition to the frozen delights, there will be eight different types of cereals, bulk candy, and coffee and espresso from the Santa Barbara Roasting Company. Friedman expressed his enthusiasm to offer both McConnell’s and S.B. Roasting Company products, both local businesses. While the permits are still in the works, Friedman says he hopes to open his doors sometime between now and March.