Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Sprinkles and The Community

Thirty years ago Sprinkles opened in the Village as “I Can't Believe It's Yogurt.” For those who remember, we were much younger then. Recession hit in 1992; by 1995 yogurt retail was in decline and before the mid-90s most franchised yogurt stores nationally were out of business. If the property owners had not reduced my rent and permitted our expansion into bakery goods, the store would have failed. I remain grateful for their understanding and decency. And I recall with fondness when Mr. Zuckerman, one of the owners, would stop by for coffee in the morning, sometimes with his wife (Rory).

Relationships, for me, were what it's all about. You may, as my Dad did, try to teach your kids the importance of money. I loved talking to people, hearing (without listening to) interactions in the store. I got to know people, sometimes in snippets compiled over years, and made friends. I enjoyed the communal feeling. I tried to hire people who were interesting and who might like and respect one another, so as to make the workday more pleasant and engender a relaxed atmosphere. Sprinkles is a happy place, a meeting place, a late spot for kids to meet friends and where parents can feel comfortable about where they are.

There are many ways in which Sprinkles can do more for the community. That will require the efforts of a dedicated team. Over 30 years I owned Sprinkles by myself. Thanks to the community, the business has grown. So have I, personally, and in years. The time is right for ownership to transition to a family who can bring more energy and fresh dedication to the business. Modern marketing, to use an example, is foreign to me, and perhaps to my generation.

Sprinkles changed hands on Feb. 6, to a local Potomac family with whom I am working to make the transition smooth. Please come to meet them and to afford me the opportunity to thank you for your support of the store over three decades, which has felt amazing to me. I feel nothing but humility and gratitude.

Thank you.

Tom Orban

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