Author: Hannah Gordon
Brandon Kujawa, 27, and his brother Brad (Murph) Kujawa, 25, created their own entrepreneurial internship in 2011 while attending Valley Forge Christian College in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, for business.
Brandon visited California and discovered the market for frozen yogurt that hadn’t hit Buffalo… yet.
“I kind of had this idea of a shack at Sunset Beach playing some reggae and selling froyo,” Brandon said.
Buffalo is home for the Kujawa brothers, so it was natural for them to return and operate here.
“When we were thinking of starting a business I knew the local knowledge and connections would be a huge advantage,” Brandon said. “We know that if we moved to a warmer climate there would be the potential for more business and a longer season but that wasn’t really the motivating factor for starting up in the first place. We wanted to have a fun internship, meet new people, be close to family and friends and enjoy the Buffalo summer.”
The original idea was for a “weigh and pay” deal where customers could dispense their own frozen yogurt, but the health department rejected that plan. The brothers drew up new blueprints, got them approved and picked a name inspired by the culture they were imitating.
“We knew we wanted to feel like a snack shack like you would see along the beach in the Caribbean,” Brandon said. “So the whole Yogurt Shack thing worked with the vibe we were going for.”
After three summers running the Yogurt Shack, Brandon said his biggest accomplishment is keeping the business fun.
“Buffalo summers are beautiful, just short, and being able to do the food truck thing keeps us from being cooped up inside,” Brandon said. “We have the chance to meet a lot of people that have us out to their businesses, churches, high schools, birthdays and graduations, and it’s insane how friendly and welcoming people are in the Buffalo area. I don’t think we have ever left a grad party hungry.”
Brandon noted the businesses connection with the regional staff of Relay For Life, an American Cancer Society (ACS) fundraiser.
“(We) get to go out to their events and donate a portion to the ACS,” Brandon said. “It’s always humbling to see how upbeat everyone is in spite of many of them fighting cancer or being there to honor loved ones who they have lost to cancer.”
Although Yogurt Shack doesn’t operate year round, Brandon said he has been looking into the possibility of a winter food truck.
“We don’t have too much of a desire to operate year round with the froyo,” Brandon said. “But, we have been looking at the possibility of a winter food truck that would sell homemade hot chocolate, cookies, coffee, etc., but were just playing around with that idea for now.”
Now that the winter season has set in, what do you think the best idea for a food truck is from, say, October to March?
The Yogurt Shack | Facebook