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Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt Franchise Plans Hanover Street Store in Boston’s North End

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Pinkberry Franchisee at NEWRA ZLC Committee Meeting on February 26, 2013. From the left, Attorney Daniel Toscano, Tom Bock of the NE Frog Pond LLC / Bock Group and a representative of the franchise.

The west coast frozen yogurt chain known as Pinkberry is set to come to the North End’s Hanover Street. Franchise owner, Tom Bock of NE Frog Pond LLC presented the zoning relief application at this week’s meeting of the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) Zoning, Licensing & Construction Committee. Bock has the rights to establish 15 Pinkberry franchises in the New England area, with several already in operation including Harvard Square and South Station.

The proposed North End location for the new store is 283-285 Hanover St., formerly Nahas Shoes. The zoning variance is to change the occupancy to allow 8 seats for the Pinkberry frozen yogurt shop (with the existing apartments above) and a #36A take-out license.

ZLC Committee co-chair David Kubiak explained that the location has long been a retail shoe store and if the application is approved, the site could later be used as a restaurant without further zoning relief. The applicant said they would support relief with the proviso of “this provisioner only” by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The requested license is for 12:00 am midnight closing on weekends and 11:00 pm weekdays. The stores now offer a Greek breakfast yogurt with toppings and will be open about 9:00 am. The Pinkberry franchisee said they would will be willing to purchase a Big Belly trash receptacle for the sidewalk outside the store and plans to use simple signage (no neon) on an awning.

This presentation was for informational purposes. NEWRA and the Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) will likely vote on the request at an upcoming meeting. Both groups are advisory and the final zoning relief decision will be made by the Zoning Board of Appeal. A ZBA hearing is scheduled for April 9, 2013 at City Hall, Room 801.

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MB says:

I avoid the sidewalks on Hanover at all costs. It’s easier, far faster and less annoying to walk in the street as the 10 double-parked cars per block provide plenty of shielding/buffer.

Belle says:

I don’t have a problem so much with what is going to go into that space. My issue is that how do they plan on dealing with the line of customers that will end up blocking the sidewalks? And before anyone says there won’t be a line, I’ve seen it happen at other Pinkberry locations, most especially the ones that are brand new and in markets where you don’t have them.

We already see this with Giacomo’s Restaurant and Mike’s Pastry. A booming business is great and should be encouraged. What isn’t so great is that you can’t get by the people on the sidewalk in front of the business, or get through the door of the neighboring business or apartment because of the people waiting to get into an establishment – even when you repeatedly say “excuse me”. I don’t think someone should have to walk in the street just because they can’t get by the mass of people on the sidewalk who block it.

truth says:

avoid hanover street. i do and life is a lot more pleasant.

Belle says:

A good idea in theory, however, not always practical to avoid it – especially if you have to walk down Hanover to get home, or to get to one of the stores on it.

Resident says:

Fantastic, unless you live there.

John Levensen says:

I think the guys wanting to open this place will be surprised at how many people will show up to say their piece.

Me says:

So you’d rather keep an empty store front in the neighborhood than a successful (albeit national chain) restaurant?

John Levensen says:

I don’t think the landlord needs to just rent to the highest bidder. Is it too much to expect a landlord to take something less than market value that also is a good fit for the neighborhood?

Is there a place on Hanover St. to get a slice of pizza after Umberto’s closes?

Me says:

there are tons of places to get pizza, maybe not a slice. But there are a few places to get slices on Salem, so why do we need more on Hanover? Diversify the North End!

Me says:

Wait – is Umberto’s closing? or are you referring to their vacation?

John Levensen says:

I’m referring to after 2PM. Umberto’s is closed. Hot Tomatoes is gone. Express is gone.

If people want a diversified selection, I hear the South End has a ton of different places. The North End, like it or not, is a tourist attraction because of the history and because of its Italian restaurants. Not because it has a Pinkberry.

Me says:

Cry me a river, really? Walk over to Ernesto’s!!

MIchelle Gordon says:

i love pinkberry yum!

Mike Hodgson says:

All, as a next-door neighbor at 287 Hanover, I plan on attending the hearings and saying my piece. Everyone should be able to open a business, but as a neighborhood, we need to make sure it reflects us. That means talking about signage, garbage, hours, all that.

As far as the North End changing, it’s been changing since 1630. We just need to make sure it changes in a positive way for all of us living there.

mike

Me says:

Agreed – lest everyone forget that it wasn’t always a Little Italy . . . in fact it was more like a Little Israel, a Little Ireland, and a Little England. Sure we should keep with the character of the neighborhood but that does not mean a place must be “Italian.” Positive changes can include chain retailers/restaurants. Let the consumers and the market determine what goes on Hanover (or Salem).

Bo Kuderian says:

Everyone should be able to open a business, my behind. Just as we do not live in a pure democracy, we do not live in unbridled capitalism. There are municipal ordinances from coast to coast that designate certain businesses unfit for certain areas. This is one case that shows we need such an ordinance. 1-800-FLOWERS was enough.

Salem St. Guy says:

The ordinances you refer to are generally “red light” ordinances that require strip clubs, adult novelty and video stores, sometimes tattoo and piercing parlors, things of that sort, to be located in certain zones or a minimum distance from a residential/school area.

What would your proposed ordinance be? Only independent retailers? Only Italo-centric retailers? Try drawing a line and not sounding like a protectionist bigot.

Me says:

For those who complain about students, just wait until you see the lines of SORORITY GIRLS in their Ugg boots buying Pink Berry. Also, this gentrification of Hanover Street could be a good thing for rental rates – rising rents = less students.

Me says:

The competition against gelaterias will be healthy and will force “true” North End businesses to compete, something they really haven’t had to do.

John Levensen says:

I love steak…doesn’t mean I want Morton’s to open on Hanover St.

The landlord is old school and preferred traditional retail over “restaurant”. NAHAS suffered from the recession & online shoe retail threats. They’re Charles Street location thrives, so go support the Nahas family there.

Personally, I can’t believe how many fro-yo & cupcake stores popped up across the city. Who’s buying all these $3-6 snacks?! I prefer the Pinkberry option to a full-on restaurant or bank branch.

Maria York says:

pinkberry is delicious! can’t wait for it to open !!!!

lifelongresident says:

this is end result to a YUPPY NEIGHBORHOOD!!!

Ed says:

Love pinkberry too, but this IS the beginning of the end
for ‘old school’ Hanover St. 1. Thinking Cup > 2. Pinkberry
> 3. Olive Garden…. Can’t wait to take my family to the
“Olive Garden’s Fisherman’s Feast”!

truth says:

unless latin americans also filled the kitchens in the old school hanover days, i think those days have been long gone.

truth says:

relax folks, this place won’t last two years. also, who is the landlord of this building? it MUST be a college kid or young professionial selling out to corporate america. right? right?