Pinkberry cut the ribbon on its 200th location on July 13, in San Francisco’s Union Square shopping plaza. The unit is the chain’s first in San Francisco and also happens to be its first co-location with a Macy’s department store.

“One reason we feel our partnership works so well is because the Macy’s shopper and the Pinkberry shopper are virtually the same person,” says Chris Burr, director of brand operations for Macy’s. “Our brands really connect with each other.”

The Pinkberry partnership is two years in the making, and Burr says Macy’s is already researching five or six of its nationwide stores that may serve as future Pinkberry hubs.

“We look for companies and people who share like-minded values, and by that, I mean how we view the customer experience and employee experience and really the specialness of our brands,” Pinkberry CEO Ron Graves says. “We spent a lot of time with the team from Macy’s, getting to know each other’s vision, getting to know each other’s values, and so it’s a very natural fit for us.”

In bringing the brand to San Francisco, Graves says the company worked with Macy’s to consider multiple locations, but Union Square was always high on the list. Totaling nearly 1 million square feet and boasting seven stories, it is the brand’s West Coast flagship store.

“We’ve been many other places,” Graves says. “We’ve opened up in other cities and countries before San Francisco, and that’s only to do with being patient and getting the right real estate and the right partner in that city.”

On Macy’s end, Burr says the department store reaps the benefit of offering customers an experience they cannot get in any other shopping environment.

“Pinkberry is such a great fit for us because of the freshness that they bring, the healthy yogurt, and then really the trend-forward design of their stores themselves really fits in with what we’re doing in the new department store,” Burr says.

Both Graves and Burr attended Pinkberry’s soft opening July 12, when customers eager for a taste stood in lines that wrapped around the block.

“Many of the people in the line told me that they were very excited for Pinkberry to finally have arrived in the city,” Graves says. “Many drive 10, 20, 30 miles down the peninsula to get to Pinkberry, and it was just really gratifying to hear that directly from our customers.”

By Sonya Chudgar

Desserts, Emerging Concepts, Growth, News, Pizza, Pinkberry