Entrepreneur column: gabbing with Gibson’s

Gibson’s Frozen Yogurt was the first self-serve frozen yogurt shop in Tacoma, founded by a life-long Tacoman, Jim Gibson, and his wife, Judy Jones. They serve fresh, delicious yogurts and toppings, as well as a full espresso service.  Judy Jones offered to talk about what makes her company the place it is today.

• How was it started?  What inspired the creation of the company?
“Jim and I started our first yogurt shop in the Stadium District in 2011.  Before then, Jim was working in the construction industry and had some jobs in California for a few months.
While there, he discovered self-serve frozen yogurt shops. The most amazing thing about these shops is that everyone there was positive, creative and happy.
He wanted to bring this energy to our home town of Tacoma. The idea was to have a place where people could gather and enjoy themselves in the evenings—other than a bar or club.
Since then, we’ve opened another shop in the Westgate area and now have the “First Froyo Foodtruck” in the State of Washington—which has been to the [Puget Sound] Campus multiple times.
We always have some promotional piece going on each night—game nights, movie nights, etc.”
• What makes it unique?
“While we were the first in Tacoma…our business model is to stay with the basics: Gibson’s has always been very community focused, delicious, fresh and varied products, clean environment, and the FRIENDLIEST staff. Other places may have more variety of flavors, but they won’t have the community heart like we do.
• What does it look for in employees?
“Because we pride ourselves on the FRIENDLIEST staff, we look for someone who genuinely cares about people. For example, if someone comes in and says their child has a peanut allergy, our team member might go in the back room and open a fresh package of marshmallows just to make sure there’s no peanuts that might have inadvertently gotten into the bins.
Our team members really work hard to make every customer’s experience stellar at Gibson’s. There is something new coming up all the time, so our people must be able to “think on their feet” and use their best judgment.
They also need to be able to ‘see messes.’  Yogurt is very messy and the staff need to be able to know when things need to be cleaned up.”
• How can students find out more about employment opportunities?
“When we are hiring, we post it on our Facebook pages and on our website, as well as craigslist. We’ll also put a sign up in our shops.  In the summer, we hire mostly college students for the season—many return from previous summers.”
• What can students look forward to when visiting Gibson’s?
“It’s a great place to get a delicious treat and a great cup of coffee (we use another local favorite, Valhalla, as our coffee supplier) or tea (Mad Hat Tea) and catch up on some studying, play games with friends or just hang out. We have free WiFi. You’ll always leave Gibson’s happier than when you came in.”