When customers first walk into sweetFrog, the new yogurt shop in town, the first thing they might notice is the spotless interior. The light bounces off of the white tables and each delicious topping is in its proper place. Or maybe they notice the welcoming smiles on the faces of employees and owner Kristin Potts, who seem more like extended family than perfect strangers. The cheery pink and green décor so add to the homey atmosphere that it might be hard for some customers to leave.
A graduate of Sulphur Springs High School, Potts earned her bachelor's degree in education from Texas A&M-Commerce. She met and married her husband Kerry soon after high school; they have two girls, Kennedy and Kate. On Aug. 6, the couple will celebrate their 19th wedding anniversary.
Potts worked as a school teacher for two years, but then became a stay-at-home mom while her husband worked as manager of JB-Weld. After five years, Potts wanted to do something new, and she decided to open her own business.
“I started brainstorming and tried to think of what I could do,” Potts said. “What did Sulphur Springs need? What could I bring here?”
Initially, Potts made plans to open a sandwich shop, but she was turned down by several sandwich businesses, based on the Sulphur Springs population, and was forced to change direction. She then contemplated either a coffee shop or yogurt business, trying to decide which would work best in Sulphur Springs. She finally decided on yogurt.
“I went with yogurt because I felt like yogurt reached out to all ages,” Potts explained. “From little kids and babies up to the elderly, everybody likes a treat. I felt like with coffee we might just get the adult population.”
Potts took her two daughters to Dallas and tried several different yogurt shops in order to decide which places were the best. One day, while passing through Rockwall, Potts saw the opening for a new restaurant called sweetFrog.
“I did my research on sweetFrog and liked what they stood for,” Potts noted. “The fact that it was a Christian-based company and F.R.O.G. stands for Fully Rely On God, I thought it might go over very well in Sulphur Springs.”
As soon as the Rockwall location opened, Potts and her girls “tried it and fell in love with it.” Their Sulphur Springs location opened in March.
“The first month was absolutely phenomenal,” Potts said. “The response from Sulphur Springs could not have been better. I've never run a business of my own before, so everything was new to me. I've had to learn as I go. At first we were just treading water, but it's much more manageable now. I owe a lot of praise to my workers, because I couldn't have made it through that month without them.
“My employees come in here every day with a smile on their faces,” Potts continued. “Whether they want to be here or not, they act like they do. They've done a lot for me, so I take a lot of pride in them. I love some of these kids to death. I cry when they leave. We've become a family.”
Unfortunately, finding the balance between owning a business and spending time with her family is tough. And running a business can be difficult, especially if you don't find responsible help, according to Potts. With her daughters growing up, Potts says she is trying to find a way to be present for her girls while still maintaining a full-time business.
“Kennedy will be a senior this year. She plays volleyball. She's the Dairy Festival queen and she's in leadership and HKK [Hi King Klub]. She's in so much stuff. I don't want to miss out on what's going on with her,” Potts explained. “Kate will be in eighth grade so, it's a big year for her too.”
Potts continued to say she believes owning a business can both negatively and positively affect the family dynamic – negatively if not managed well and positively because if she needs to leave to be with her family, she can. She doesn't have to worry about asking for time off or worrying about an employer. She is able to leave and then come back when she can.
Potts has done more than simply focus on making money for herself and her family, however. She also tries to give back to the Hopkins County community. SweetFrog does “give-backs,” events for organizations, church groups and area schools in which a percentage of a night's proceeds goes to the organization or group. Potts says sweetFrog is able to plan these events once or twice a month. Recently, sweetFrog gave 10 percent to the Family Life Church for their fundraiser to raise money for the Death to Chains campaign, a public campaign which is trying to create awareness of human slavery through music, cinema and creative arts. The campaign focuses on rescuing those trapped in human and sex trafficking and preventing others from becoming victims.
“We like to do our 'give-backs' because it brings in business and we can give a little bit of what we made to whatever charity or whatever organization they are part of,” Potts said. “We did one for last year’s senior class, and we'll do one for this senior class. I've done one for another church, and we're doing one for the cheerleaders in September.”
Potts said the most important things business owners should do when starting a new business are to find good employees and to praise and treat them well.
“Make coming to work something your employees enjoy,” Potts said. “SweetFrog is a happy place, and I do my best to reward my employees with things. We have little team meetings, and we get together and discuss things. My employees are involved in almost every aspect of what goes on here, and I ask a lot of their opinions.”
“Make your business a place where your employees want to be,” Potts continued. “I think that has a lot to do with our atmosphere here. We're happy. I've been told we have great customer service, and we're very clean –?two very important things, and I owe that to my employees.”
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