With the imminent redevelopment of University Village, 21 Choices, the frozen yogurt shop located in the area, is about to close up shop -— but not before taking a few final weeks to show its appreciation to USC students.
At the end of the semester, 21 Choices will have to vacate its current location, along with the rest of the shops and restaurants in University Village. The frozen yogurt shop — which primarily serves USC students and routinely closes over the winter holidays — remained closed into the new year, but recently reopened for the last few weeks of the semester.
Tony Husson, who co-owns the shop with his brother, said briefly reopening before closing the location is their way of showing their gratitude to the students who have been loyal customers.
“We want to say thank you to the students,” Husson said. “They’ve been a pleasure to serve.”
To make the reopening possible, Husson had to limit the shop’s operating hours. 21 Choices will only be open from 3-10 p.m. Monday- through Thursday, the hours with the greatest student traffic.
Husson owes the reopening to two USC students, Lauren Rados and Emily Williams, who told him they wanted to see the shop reopened. Rados and Williams came into the shop when it was still closed earlier in the semester and suggested that Husson consider limited hours.
“I was in the store one day trying to figure out how to do this,” Husson said. “And we did what they said and it’s working.”
Williams and Rados have always been dedicated customers and were disappointed when the shop didn’t reopen in January and are sad to see it closing again at the end of the semester.
For Williams, the quality of the product as well as the atmosphere made 21 Choices special.
“We were very adamant about it reopening and told him how much it meant to us,” Williams said. “It’s amazing yogurt, we love it. But we would also use it as a great outlet. A place to meet and talk and hang out.”
Most of the new staff at 21 Choices are USC students, an intentional decision by Husson. Many of them were customers themselves, picked out of line and invited to apply for a position. By offering flexible hours and paying $12 per hour, Husson hopes to make working at 21 Choices — even if only for a short while — a positive experience.
“We really want to set up a system where outgoing and friendly students serve other students,” he said. “They can work even one hour if they want. But that hour should add to their life.”
Leesa Danzek, a sophomore majoring in political science, recently started working at 21 Choices and is one of the students who was invited to apply for a job when she came in as a customer. Danzek says she’ll be sad to see the store close.
“I wish it would stay open,” Danzek said. “From my experience so far, it’s always packed and there’s always a line out the door. Everyone loves it.”
The plan is for the shop to stay open at least until the first week of May, but Husson hopes to be able to stay open until graduation. He hopes to treat graduating seniors to free frozen yogurt on the last day of classes to thank them for being loyal customers.
The eventual demolition and redevelopment of University Village has been a part of USC’s Master Plan since 21 Choices opened at the location in 2009. Husson hopes to be able to come back to a new location in the USC area, ideally on campus.