TCBY Rice Village owners renewed their lease at 2518 Rice Blvd. but dropped the franchise affiliation of 15 years when that agreement recently came up for renewal — a 10-year commitment. Instead, the owners launched their own ice cream and frozen yogurt shop, Purple Vanilla — not be confused with nearby retailers Purple Mango (a childrenâ€™s store) and Purple Glaze (a design-your-own ceramics studio).
Newer players in the frozen confection industry such as Red Mango and Swirll are typically self-serve shops, with some charging by the portion. TCBY, founded 30 years ago, has taken notice and incorporated self-serve into the new store model it recommended for the Rice Village store. Meanwhile, its existing locations with traditional counter service are considering whether and when to retool. Or, as in the case of Purple Vanilla, whether and when to leave.
By any name, the Rice Village shop has a loyal customer base that is well established, particularly among after-school carpools, workers ending their shifts at the Texas Medical Center, and, given the range of sugar-free flavors, the diabetic and health-conscious crowd.