“I really want this to be a place where you can come as a family, talk to your kids and just unplug,” said Rowe-Gralnick. “It’s nice to unplug, and that’s something we don’t do enough of.”
Since she opened her Sand Creek Road location in November, Rowe-Gralnick has found scant time to unplug. The yogurt shop was what she and her husband Al had planned to open together, but fate had a different plan.
Al was hit by a drunk driver near their home in Granite Bay, Wash. last year, and while being treated for his injuries, it was discovered that the 63-year-old had contracted a rare form of lymphoma. Al passed away in April and Susan moved to Brentwood and opened the store. “We had already signed the lease and we were committed,” she said. “So I just continued on.”
Despite sleepless nights, endless to-do lists and long work days, Rowe-Gralnick has been blessed with plenty of helpers, including her sister-in-law Sandie. “I couldn’t have done any of this without her – and my core group of employees,” said Rowe-Gralnick.
Business has been brisk, which she credits to the hands-on approach the Menchies corporation gives to its franchise owners.
And their delicious yogurt.
Menchies offers 16 flavors plus a variety of combinations, including selections of non-sugar and non-dairy yogurts. Customers can choose from more than 70 toppings to build their treats, weigh them in and pay accordingly. The store is a TV-free zone, but old-fashioned box games are welcomed. Stacks of titles including “Apples to Apples” and “Candyland” are available in the corner of the store, and customers are invited to come in, enjoy a yogurt and play a game.
“I have a dad and his girls who come in every week and play Apples to Apples,” she said. “In fact, I’ve started a Wednesday night pickup game called Apples and Waffles (as in “waffle cone”). It’s fun.”
Per the company’s mission statement, Rowe-Gralnick has also been working closely with the community, partnering with local schools in fundraising and educational activities. And although Rowe-Gralnick is moving forward with her life, she’s not doing it alone. The spirit of her husband is always with her.
“I think he’d approve of the work I’ve done here,” she said. “And I think he’d be proud of me. It wasn’t the way we’d planned it to be, but I think this is a good fit. I think it’s going to work out.”
Menchies is located at 2530 Sand Creek Road in Brentwood. Winter store hours are Sundays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, call 925-513-6600.