By Virginia Lindak, Digital First Media
Phoenixville >> Adding to the unique flavor of Phoenixville’s downtown business district is GCGC Greek Yogurt, a new stop for a tasty treat. Featuring a wide array of both sweet and savory organic options, GCGC focuses on healthy dishes while simultaneously supporting local non-profit organizations.
GCGC stands for “Get a Cup, Give a Cup” reflecting the shop’s mission. For every cup of yogurt that is purchased, owner Justin Hartman and his wife Ashley, in turn give away a yogurt cup to a local food bank.
“I’ve always been drawn to doing something socially responsible. I thought, ‘well, what if we just give a cup away every time someone buys one?’” said Hartman.
The Hartmans were initially inspired to open a Greek Yogurt shop after they visited Greece a few years ago. Before they returned home, the wheels were in motion and they had developed a business plan.
“In Athens they had a Greek Yogurt shop similar to this. We had such a great experience and it was so delicious, we thought that this would be a cool idea,” said Hartman, who noted there were only a few other Greek yogurt shops in the United States. “They don’t really exist. There isn’t really anything out there like it.”
The Hartmans, who are Phoenixville residents, decided to open their business on Bridge Street because of the up-and-coming, eclectic culture that continues to make the town a popular draw.
“With all the new restaurants, bars and shops, there’s a big influx of people. Phoenixville seemed like a really cool place and it is very healthy oriented. We get our yogurt locally, so it’s nice logistically to be close by,” said Hartman.
GCGC uses the nationally revered Seven Stars Farm Organic Yogurt, locally made at the source farm and processing plant in nearby Kimberton. GCGC then puts the yogurt through a 12 hour straining process that removes the whey, which makes it into Greek yogurt.
Hartman noted they were drawn to Greek yogurt because of its flexibility to go in both sweet and savory flavor directions.
“The sweet option is honey, jams, granola and fresh fruit. But on the savory side you can do things like our guacamole dip that we serve with original Greek yogurt and blue corn chips. It sounds a little odd at first. We’re so accustomed to thinking of yogurt as more of a sweet item, but in reality Greek yogurt is very similar to sour cream. When you mix it with guacamole or black bean hummus, it complements the flavor really well,” he said.
The menu holds a variety of offerings, from savory choices like BBQ Yogurt Dip or Spinach and Artichoke topped with smoked paprika yogurt, to sweeter options such as Blueberry Mojito lemon yogurt or Raspberry Chocolate Crumble with vanilla yogurt. There is also the option to create your own cup, choosing from a multitude of yogurt flavors and fresh toppings.
“Another part of our mission is to be as environmentally friendly as possible. We actually take the whey back to the farm, so the pigs can drink the whey. It’s full circle, which is really cool. We really strive to source things locally and organic.” Hartman remarked. He added that all the yogurt cups and containers they use are environmentally friendly and compostable.
Hartman, who is a member of the Phoenixville Green Team, leads the sustainable business sub-team for the group. He said GCGC is striving to become zero waste, which means they would recycle and compost everything.
“It’s a stretch goal, but it’s what we’re shooting for.”
Hartman said they implemented their giving strategy by working with several food banks and nonprofit groups in the area including Phoenixville Area Community Services (PACS.) GCGC donates cups of yogurt, redeemable GCGC food tickets, as well as other food items from the shop to help these organizations.
“When we created the concept, we just started reaching out to different food banks in the area. The one that has been most receptive is Good Samaritan Shelter and specifically Nourish Mobile Market. Not only are they selling fresh produce and different foods, but they are employing lower income individuals at twice minimum wage. By us giving them yogurt, they have the ability to sell the yogurt, which can make money for them. It works out great for everybody,” Hartman added.
GCGC Greek Yogurt is located at 239 Bridge Street. For more information visit www.gcgcgreekyogurt.com. You can also find GCGC Greek Yogurt on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gcgcyogurt/?fref=ts. GCGC Greek Yogurt will have a ribbon cutting and grand opening on Friday, Sept. 9, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. For more information about the event, visit www.facebook.com/events/729776847161647.
Categories: Healthy Eating