THE REAL THING IN YOGURT ... Yes, it's real. Not frozen and sugary but just plain old-fashioned yogurt. That's the talk from two Palo Alto entrepreneurs. Long-time friends Jessica Gilmartin and Patty Roj, both in their early 30s, are risking it all on their first venture -- not just selling fresh, pasteurized yogurt but making it on-site in their new shop, Fraiche Yogurt, 644 Emerson St. in downtown Palo Alto. "This is a brand new concept. We had to get approved by the FDA. We're the only people in the world doing this," Roj said. "It's unadulterated, good-for-you yogurt." Pointing to a large, silver, industrial-type cylinder in the back of the store, Roj said, "This is our pasteurizer. We couldn't find anything in the U.S. so we imported it from the Netherlands. It allows us to make the purest product possible. Absolutely no additives." The taste is similar to Greek yogurt, Roj explained. "It's a little thicker and a little less tart than yogurts you'd buy in the store," she said. Roj and Gilmartin are a bit like dairy farmers. "We've been working hand-in-hand with the Dairy Board. We need to be licensed pasteurizers to do this," Roj said. The two women have sunk their savings into the shop. "We don't have any financial backers. It's just us," Roj said. They redesigned the 1,300-square-foot space, directly across a driveway from U.S. Congresswoman's Anna Eshoo's local office, complete with a wavy white wall that resembles the product. "It looks like a sea of yogurt on the wall, doesn't it?" Roj asked.
STEPPING INTO A ZERO SALARY ... Sharing the same address as Fraiche Yogurt is another unusual shop. In Her Shoes, also at 644 Emerson, is a shoe store in front and a nail salon in the back. The uniqueness comes with the owner, Woodside resident Pamela Rosekrans. A true philanthropist, Rosekrans' salary is zero. And she wants to keep it that way. "I give all my profits away. Everything above my operating costs, everything I would take for myself I give to Global Fund for Women," she said, referring to the San Francisco-based nonprofit that advances women's rights worldwide. "I feel blessed in my own life. My husband makes a good living, so I wanted to generate more income for someone else. Global Fund for Women is a great cause," she said. And her husband's reaction to Rosekranz's decision to give all her profits away? "He wasn't exactly thrilled at first, but now he sees it's a good thing," she said.
COMING UP ROSES ... Cindy's Flowers and Gifts, a downtown Menlo Park fixture for 24 years, is relocating to a new, larger space after encountering some thorns in the store's rosy history. "The landlord raised the rent. It was a huge increase," owner Cindy Smith said. Her small, 750-square-foot shop next to the Menlo Park Post Office on Oak Grove Avenue would never survive the rent hike. "But everything worked out. I found a great spot across from the BBC (British Bankers' Club) to relocate. It's twice the size and I feel like I have a new lease on life," she said. The new Cindy's Flowers & Gifts will open in late July at 558 Santa Cruz Ave., in the former spot of Wessex Books.
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