For customers who don’t know how to pronounce the main product at SoBol, which opened last week in the Cos Cob section of Greenwich, there’s a helpful pronunciation guide near the cash register.
Acai (ah-sigh-ee) berries are purplish in color and a little smaller than grapes. They’re harvested mostly from acai palm trees in parts of South America, such as the Amazon River delta, and are the main ingredient in SoBol’s acai bowls and smoothies. The fruit is relatively new to the U.S., and its health benefits have, at times, been overstated, but it’s been popularized for containing antioxidants, fiber and heart-healthy fats, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website.
At SoBol, acai is blended with strawberries, bananas and a splash of soy milk into a frozen puree that’s layered with granola, fresh fruit, coconut and a drizzle of honey.
Cos Cob marks the company’s 18th location and first in Connecticut, with its others sprinkled around the tri-state area. The shop is co-owned by Scott Rosenberg, who runs several other SoBol franchises in the area, and Greenwich residents Michael and Shera Stein.
After operating his own small business, Hudson Engineering and Consulting, for more than a decade, Michael Stein wanted to do something more, preferably in the food industry, he said. Though still running his engineering firm, Stein and his wife set out to find a business venture they could pursue together.
They taste-tested SoBol’s grab-and-go offerings for the first time with their children last summer. “We went to three different SoBol locations, and my daughter got an acai bowl at every one,” Michael Stein said. “Seeing all of us enjoy it showed us it was the right thing. As a parent, you want something to pass on to your children, and the whole family loves this.”
In November, the owners signed their lease for the storefront, which is located in Cos Cob commercial district The Hub, between Cos Cob Hardware and CVS. Most recently, the space housed a Robeks Juice.
Between signing their lease in November and opening the store last week, Rosenberg and the Steins oversaw the store’s renovations, which have transformed it into a beachy-looking hangout, harkening back to acai’s popularity among surfers in Brazil, according to Michael Stein.
For now, SoBol Cos Cob sells mostly acai bowls and smoothies, with various fruit and add-on options, such as scoops of peanut or cookie butter, the Steins said, adding they can eliminate any necessarily ingredients for customers with allergies. Eventually, they hope to add more grab-and-go healthy foods, Shera Stein said.
By next year, the couple plans to consider opening more SoBol franchises in southwestern Connecticut. “This gives us something to work on together as a family,” she said.
SoBol Cos Cob is located at 132 E. Putnam Ave.Read Full Article
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