The term “über couple” comes to mind when you meet Rob and Sandy Archer. Both tall and lanky former UVA track team members and Darden graduates, the highly photogenic Archers have been married for 15 years and in business together for over 17 (they opened their first Arch’s Frozen Yogurt back in 1991). Now the couple has opened the much-anticipated third location of their eponymous froyo shop on Emmet Street (actually, the fourth—years ago, they opened a short-lived Arch’s in the old I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt spot further up 29N), and on top of that, the Archers have four children between the ages of 10 and 2 and somehow both manage to find time to teach athletic classes at ACAC and be active members of their church.
Yo, more froyo: Rob and Sandy Archer have opened the much-anticipated third Arch’s Frozen Yogurt on Emmet Street.
“How do you do it?” Restaurantarama asked Sandy Archer on a breezy September afternoon last week while we sat on the balcony of the new location, overlooking the traffic on Emmet Street.
Archer responded without skipping a beat, “We’ve always had a lot on our plates.”
The two certainly have been master multitask-ers since they started the first shop on Ivy Road only three months before Rob began business school at Darden. While Rob hit the books, Sandy took the lead on managing the shop, and when Rob graduated, Sandy entered Darden and Rob took over manning the store. And somewhere in the midst of all of that, they opened the second Arch’s on Corner.
As for what prompted the young and energetic UVA alums to leave promising jobs in corporate America (Rob started at IBM and Sandy at a pharmaceutical company) to return to Charlottesville in 1991 to scoop yogurt, Sandy says, “We were chasing the entrepreneur’s dream. We wanted to do our own thing.”
That froyo became their thing was kind of haphazard. “At the time, TCBY was a big craze, and a guy who owned several of the yogurt franchises in the Virginia Beach area was closing a few. We were able to buy the equipment on a deal,” says Sandy.
The first location actually was on the backside of Townside Shopping Center on Ivy Road (the flagship shop later moved to the front of that building).
“Nobody could see us! We developed a following of people who liked that it was their secret,” says Sandy.
Well, the secret of the Black Caesar (Restaurantarama’s personal fav) and Arch’s other signature and made-to-order frozen goodness has been out for a while now, and though Sandy acknowledges that the newest location initially might cannibalize some customers from the other two locations, she feels strongly that there’s a customer base of folks in the northern area of town that probably don’t already know about Arch’s gooey brownie topping (can you imagine?) and don’t frequent the areas of the other locations.
Of the new stand-alone shop, Sandy says, “Finding a location where we could own the underlying real estate has been a 15-year dream for us.”
New restaurant news!
Great news for fans of Michael’s Bistro (pre-staff walk-out and Chuck Adcock departure that is): Many of the old crew, including former Michael’s general manager, Bob Dorsey, and bartender Sean Chandler, will be behind Adcock in a new restaurant venture in…get this…the old Northern Exposure/Spry’s BBQ spot on West Main Street! We don’t know what makes us happier—Adcock’s re-emergence after a very public and rumor-laden break-up with his Bistro business partner, Michael Crafaik, or that the long-vacant Northern Exposure spot will be getting a much-needed facelift. Gone will be the “crab shack look” says Chandler.
Adcock tentatively is calling the place “12th Street” (as in the cross street), which he says will offer an eclectic mix of dishes to pair nicely with a large selection of beers on tap (about 12) and in bottles. Similarities with Michael’s are inevitable, as Adcock created most of the dishes there, but Adock says 12th Street’s menu will differ “in the sense that Michael’s was pretty casual and was a much smaller venue. Our menu will be geared toward serving 150 to 200 people at a time, but it will be at least as good if not better.” Stay tuned for more on this story!