Undeterred by spoongate, Menchies opens in Centroplis

Tinseltown’s favourite treat comes to Laval

By Robert Frank

Hollywood’s dessert phenomenon, which draws celebrities, actors and musicians all over Los Angeles, officially opened an outlet in Chomedey, Aug. 28.

The Laval store attracted overflow crowds when it offered free frozen yogurt from 3-6 p.m., and 50 percent off regular prices the remainder of the day until midnight.

“We were absolutely mobbed,” enthused Menchies’ Laval owner David Lipper. “Every seat and park bench was taken and there were kids all over the sidewalk.”

The Westmount native was one of the many movie stars who were drawn to the family-oriented outlet’s fare.

“It was my favourite product in Los Angeles, so I decided to bring it to my friends and family in Montreal,” he told The Suburban in a telephone interview from Sudbury, where the latest film that he is starring in is being shot.

Menchies, which started in 2007 as a business school project, is now the world’s largest frozen yogurt franchisor, with 350 outlets worldwide.

“We have a major research and development department with its own lab, developing our own flavours all day long,” Lipper explained. “That’s how we ended up with Smurfberry in July. It’s an exciting flavour that was designed to look like it’s part of the latest Smurf movie.”

Lipper has operated a Menchies outlet in Dollard des Ormeaux since last year, and opened another store in Brossard, early in 2013.

“Laval is another phenomenal family-centred suburb,” Lipper said, “where we provide an inexpensive activity that parents, grandparents and children can enjoy together for hours.”

Spoongate epilogue

Lipper’s Dollard des Ormeaux outlet inadvertently drew worldwide headlines in June, after Quebec tongue troopers told staff that the store’s spoons violated the province’s language laws.

“We didn’t want to cause a problem while we were figuring it out,” he recalled, “but within 24 hours, the whole thing went viral on Facebook.”

“There was tremendous support from the suburban community and, based on our legal team’s advice, we decided to put the spoons back in service,” Lipper continued. “The most frustrating part of it was that the spoons are legal in Quebec. It didn’t even warrant an investigation. Why were they wasting people’s time and taxpayers’ money for, to investigate something that was legal to being with?”

“That’s a question that I can’t answer, but it is what frustrated the people on the ground,” he concluded. “It hit a nerve that rocked the whole community. It seemed to be the last straw for people. I didn’t realize that [the reaction] would be that intense. I think that we’re in the midst of a very traumatic political climate right now, with [Bill 14] set to come out, and it will be interesting to see what happens during the next [Quebec] election.”

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