From Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the idea of the self-made man is a driving force in our capitalist society. Fredrick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, John Rockefeller, Ross Perot, Bill Gates, the stories of how these individuals, through persistence, drive, and ambition, rose from simple, humble beginnings to attain levels of wealth or fame far beyond what anyone would have guessed from their original circumstances are threads in the tapestry of the American dream. While every headline in the media discusses the economic downturn of the last few years, with recession, unemployment, and bankruptcy blazoned across the front pages, there are still some individuals who stubbornly defy the doom-and-gloom predictions. Seeing opportunity where others failed, Fiji Yogurt, located at 1010 University Avenue, stands as an example of the triumph of the entrepreneurial spirit. The story of Kyle Miholich starts humbly. As a 21 year old student at the University of San Diego, Kyle, like many people, had always wanted to own his own business. He had imagined that something near a campus would be an ideal location, but hadn’t taken the idea any farther than a dream. His girlfriend at the time was constantly craving frozen yogurt so the two would often drive together to get it, but the nearest location was several miles away. Getting fed up with the trips, he began to do some research into yogurt. That was when the loosely formed thoughts that had been mixing around in his head began to chill and thicken. Deciding to learn everything about the business first, he asked several shops if he could apprentice with them for a few weeks for free to learn about the business and what was needed to start his own company. Kyle found one place willing to help him in North County San Diego, and after working for two weeks, was ready to begin. Spending all his graduation money, asking for personal loans from friends and family, and maxing out several credit cards, in October 2007 he began construction on his first location, called Froyo, across campus from USD. With the help of his twin brother Cory, and roommate Rafael Navarro, he finished the store. A quick success Froyo broke even by its second day and Kyle made his investment back within a year. Friends wanted to open another Froyo store with Kyle in Point Loma. The problem was that trademark laws do not allow any name that describes part of the process of manufacturing, and Froyo was too close to "frozen yogurt". Kyle and Rafael began brainstorming with a basic idea, wanting a two word name with yogurt as the second. Fiji Yogurt. Through this process and contributing to the success of what came to be Fiji Yogurt was the resurgence in popularity of frozen yogurt. Similar to the rises in popularity of coffee shops and donut stores with the spread of Starbucks and Krispy Kreme in the 1990’s, the frozen yogurt store Pinkberry opened in 2005 in West Hollywood, Los Angeles and within four years had almost 80 stores nationwide. Rafael Navarro now owns the Hillcrest Fiji Yogurt, their fourth location in San Diego, and is the companies Director of Design, Marketing, and Franchise Sales. He describes the trouble he and Kyle had choosing the name, "the names were being taken up as fast as we could think them up, that’s how fast shops were opening." Something about Fiji Yogurt stuck out to them, and that was all it took. In the summer of 2008 the second location was opened, a third in Mission Gorge that fall. By winter Fiji Yogurt Hillcrest had opened. Rafael had known he wanted to open his branch in the Hillcrest/North Park area, "it’s a different environment than our other stores, there is more of a community, and more people just like to chat and hang out here."
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Dewey Decking, store clerk, says "Everything is for sale in Junc. The antiques, the decor, and of course the Jeffery Parish clothing line." It is not that the Junc Boutique is going out of business, in fact business is good for this men and women's eclectic apparel, accessories and gifts boutique but rather no the product serves as decor and the walls as a rotating gallery for local artists. In addition the owner and designer Jeffery Parish's own line of clothing Junc carries some unique chic brands such as Kersh, Press, Indah, Crew thief for Women and Elwood, Ambiguous, Indigo Star, and Micros for men. There is also Archipeligo and Aquiesse candles, Roost Home Decor, and local artisan's creations. The collections are special and border on the peculiar and interesting. This is not Parish's first store. Previously he opened Le Sorcier in Hill Crest - a metaphysical bookstore. The current product at Junc reflects that meta-physical mentality as well as anything physical can. I felt the only thing missing in the store was a hip and modern fortune-teller in the back room. Despite that parish has a keen eye for the tasteful over the gauche, but he does bring you right to the edge. For putting out product that pushes that edge of the meta-physical without going commercial, and with reasonable pricing I give Junc an overall 4 star rating. For it's local business support - bring in a receipt from a nearby business and receive a discount - I give it another star.
“Best cookie on earth,” says “Uncle” Biff Ledgerwood when asked to describe his product. All the employees nod their heads in agreement and add that the cookies are made from only the best ingredients, too. This is no lie. For the past twenty years Uncle Biff and his cookie crew have been supplying Hillcrest and Pacific Beach with some of the tasty treats in San Diego. Chocolate chip, with or without nuts, is a classic choice, but the Original Killer Cookie and the variety of peanut flavored cookies are what really make you drool. The shop is simple and to the point: you walk in, you see the rows of freshly baked cookies in front of you, and you walk out happy with a few boxes in your hands. While the cookies are usually warm and soft, the service at Uncle Biff’s comes with a dry sense humor. Biff and his employees like to joke around with each other, as well as their clientele, so do not start eating your dessert until you have vacated the premises (it could be a choking hazard). Typically there are no major sales or discounts on cookies, but Uncle Biff’s does off a standard “buy one dozen cookies, get two free” deal. The neon sign that hangs in the store window reads: KILLER COOKIES because of the fact that once you eat them, you will feel like you died and went to cookie heaven. Make sure that the next you’re your sweet tooth is acting up to kill it with this sweet cookie.