Culture Shock in Grass Valley up for sale as owners launch new venture
Know & Go
What: Culture Shock Yogurt & Gourmet Popcorn Bar
Where: 851 Sutton Way, Grass Valley and 2985 Bell Road, Auburn
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Sunday-Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday
When Bobbi Giudicelli opened her very first Culture Shock in downtown Grass Valley in 2009, she said she became one of the first self-serve frozen yogurt purveyors in the country.
She jumped on board another trend growing in popularity when she added gourmet popcorn to her two locations, a product whose sales she said have increased four-fold this calendar year. So it should come as no surprise that Giudicelli’s newest venture, set to launch next month, focuses on a food trend that shows no sign of slowing down — uber-healthy snacks.
Giudicelli’s radar when it comes to business is less about the money to be made and more about the passions she wants to follow.
And that’s one big reason why she has made the difficult decision to sell the two Culture Shock stores.
“That is the only reason we are looking for buyers,” Giudicelli said. “The new business will take our time and attention while we launch.”
Giudicelli, a self-professed frozen yogurt addict, opened the first Culture Shock 10 years ago on Mill Street because she had just moved to Nevada County and couldn’t find her favorite treat locally.
She thought the idea of self-serve was “brilliant,” she said, adding, “I wanted to have that in my backyard.”
A year later, Culture Shock opened a second location on Sutton Way and then a third in Auburn in 2011; the downtown store shut down in 2017 after much of its traffic migrated to the Glenbrook Basin location. In 2012, Culture Shock opened a packaging plant and began selling pre-packaged frozen yogurt to schools around the state.
“In the 10 years, we’ve had amazing community support,” Giudicelli said. “We’ve more than survived.”
The key to Culture Shock’s success, she says, is simple. You can’t do it just for the money.
“You have to have the passion for it,” Giudicelli said.
One thing that has always been important to her is to offer the healthiest product available, including fresh fruit in the summer and organic products where possible. Culture Shock now offers sorbet and a non-dairy yogurt, such as the cashew milk-based chocolate on tap this week.
“I’m a health nut,” Giudicelli said.
That health journey is why she has turned her attention to Read the Ingredients, gluten- and additive-free mini-loaves and “big bites” made mostly of nuts, fruits and vegetables. They’re less sweet and more nutritionally well-rounded than most nutrition bars on the market, Giudicelli said.
Giudicelli developed the “extremely healthy” baked goods about three years ago, and started sharing them with friends.
“There was nothing on the market like this,” she said, adding, “This product is not for everybody. It’s not for those who have a sweet tooth.”
The goodies, which have no preservatives, will be marketed mostly via social media and sold directly to consumers online. That way, Read the Ingredients — which Giudicelli will run in partnership with son Mike — will be able to connect directly with consumers and get targeted feedback, she said.
Giudicelli stressed that she is not selling the school packaging business. And, she said, she won’t sell the Auburn and Grass Valley Culture Shock stores to just anybody. It’s clear that she intends to mentor the buyer to match her high standards and promises to teach them everything they will need to succeed.
“It will definitely have to be the right person,” she said.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.
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