Stephanie and Matt Gilstrap are co-proprietors of Cuppa Yo, the hot spot for frozen yogurt on Newport Avenue in Bend. Their own partnership began back in 2004, when they met in a Human Sexuality class at Central Oregon Community College. Married since 2007, they now have a young son and a thriving business.
The Gilstraps started Cuppa Yo with Melissa and Keith Clayton. Melissa and Stephanie are sisters; they and Keith grew up in Redmond. Keith lived for a time in southern California.
“The concept was super popular there,” said Stephanie Gilstrap, regarding a self-serve yogurt shop with rotating flavors and a vast topping selection, with the price determined by weight. The foursome decided it was an idea that would work for Bend, and opened the first location this summer.
When asked about opening up a new venture in a tough economic climate, Gilstrap was upbeat.
“We felt good about it. We knew it was an industry that can work through [an economic] crisis,” she said. The advantage is that people “choose what they want to pay.”
Adding to the experience are a bright space, outdoor seating and big smiles from both the people behind the counter and the photos on the flat screen slide show playing on one wall.
According to Gilstrap, the frozen yogurt industry can be a particular draw for younger women, but is popular with anyone seeking an alternative to ice cream.
“We feel great about it [nutritionally],” said Gilstrap. There are “overall, so many more health benefits” than ice cream.
When not attending to the toppings bar, the Gilstraps enjoy spending time with family, and experiencing all that Central Oregon has to offer.
“We love all the things that are within an hour of home,” said Gilstrap. “We like the vibe that Bend has.”
The Gilstraps and the Claytons have plans to expand to three locations within Central Oregon by next spring.
Cuppa Yo posts random promos on its Facebook page for fans. The site recently hit the 3,000-fan mark.
COCC students may receive a twenty percent discount between 11 A.M. and 12 P.M. daily, with student ID.
The two couples represent a resurgence of entrepreneurial energy in Central Oregon. Although they “totally worked on our own,” according to Gilstrap, they are part of a trend of new and vibrant businesses popping up in Bend, serving a health- and wallet-conscious public.
After (or in the middle of) a big day of school, family, and activity, Stephanie, Matt, Melissa and Keith welcome you to chill out with a sweet Cuppa Yo.
You may contact Irene Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org