Last summer there was a frozen yogurt cafes boom and Barcelona was suddenly filled with shops offering frozen yogurt with toppings to choose from. Those who previously consumed traditional ice cream to soften the summer heat now lined up to get their cup or cone of yogurt. The sisters Elvira and Sol Agudo, two Venezuelan girls living in Barcelona, picked up this business model and adapted it for their personal project, a frozen yogurt shop called Toptop located in the heart of Barceloneta. Do you want to know them?
What do you offer in Toptop?
TopTop is a frozen yogurt parlor offering mainly soft yogurt (frozen yogurt), which is natural and very low fat. What makes us different from others is that at TopTop customers decide what they want on their frozen yoghurt, through a simple system of “self-service” everyone can create their ice cream with the quantity and variety of toppings they want (fruits, cereals, chocolate, cookies, jellies, syrups, etc.) without any additional cost. We are the only FREE TOPPING frozen yogurt parlor in Barcelona. Besides we also offer Paligofres (some funny waffle shaped as a popsicle that can be simple or filled, sweet or salty), sweet and salty crepes, delicious brownies, shakes and “merengada” milk with fruit juice (smoothies) and other cold and hot drinks.
How did the idea of opening this type of business came up?
The idea came up because we wanted to popularize a different way of snacking and taking the dessert, which were healthy, accessible and suitable for all kind of customers. That was easy in a cosmopolitan city such as Barcelona. And with over 30 different types of toppings to add to the frozen yogurt each TOPOP experience ends up being unique.
How has opening a business in Barcelona been?
It hasn’t been very difficult, I think the important thing is to have a different idea, which fits the city, people living in and visiting Barcelona. Our second advice would be to be aware of all the paperwork behind the business, you have to carry out the demanded requirements and know how complicated it can be to find someone to advise you and tell you what is the best way to do something. In Barcelona there are organizations and professionals who are willing to do it for free, we develop the project with Barcelona Activa help and the experience has been wonderful, we are very grateful and would recommend to anyone who wants to start a business but don’t know how.
How do you value the experience now that it’s been a few months since Toptop opening?
The experience of carrying out a personal project has been wonderful. We have had a lot of support, so we are grateful, TopTop is growing little by little, we are raising awareness and we hope to be a reference and example within our industry. In fact, we actually are getting there. The most important thing is to believe and carry out ideas with no fear.
Why did you choose the Barceloneta area?
The nice thing about Barcelona is that each neighborhood is unique and Barceloneta is a reflection of what is Barcelona. Every street is different, there is a stunning cultural exchange, there live people from all over the world and they like being a community. Barceloneta residents like to walk around there, support each other and so on. That is beautiful and from the first moment, we fell in love with that feeling. On the other side is a very touristic district, and I think Toptop reflects that; the merge between people that lives there and people that are visiting the city. Everyone is welcomed and can feel comfortable at TOPTOP.
Will there be more “Toptops” in the future?
You never know, at the moment is a family business, a small project, but we are open to continuing growing. We like to offer quality and closeness, so if everything goes well and we can offer that in other places, why not?
And finally… any advice for entrepreneurs who are reading this and are thinking about starting a new business in Barcelona?
Just do it! Our advice is that, despite being in a time of “financial crisis,” crisis generates ideas and opportunities. If you don’t try it, you will never know… If you don’t have a clear idea yet, take a moment to give shape to what you have in mind, and be flexible if you have to change things from the initial project. Investigate and consult an expert, if you think you time has come, go for it!