Craig Smith

Craig Smith is the executive director of the Downtown Napa Association.

J.L. Sousa/Register

Becky Berger wanted to open a yogurt shop and knew she wanted it to be in downtown Napa.

She chose yogurt because she wanted it to be something fun, something that brought a smile to people’s faces.

“I thought about working at a florist, but realized some people would come in for sad occasions,” said Berger.

“That’s a great business and it would be a chance to help people, but I want fun,” she said with a little laugh.

She thought about how she used to go to Mervyn’s and then next door for a hot dog and yogurt, and a light went on.

“I love yogurt, and decided to open a yogurt shop.” She talked to her husband, Jeff.

“We can do this,” she said. He agreed, and almost four years ago they opened Yo Belle yogurt on the corner of Main and First Street in downtown Napa. She’s never looked back.

Friends warned Berger that operating a business would be hard work, but she never saw it like that. Her biggest surprise has been just how fun it is.

“When people decide to get yogurt, it brings a smile to their faces. This is something people do that makes them happy,” she said.

She sees people old and young, and at least twice a day somebody she knows comes into the shop. Instead of operating the business as though customers might take advantage of her, as Berger had been warned, she purposely makes it open.

Yo Belle offers free samples, free water and allows folks to use their restroom if that’s all they need. Sometimes, she’ll surprise patrons, like the Easter she spontaneously decided to give yogurt away, her way of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It was a chance to minister to people, which is important to her. Berger’s faith is strong. She doesn’t push it, but she doesn’t hide it either.

Yo Belle is self-service, but customers always have the support of a friendly staff. People are greeted when they walk in the door, and genuine assistance is offered to everyone. When you’re ready, grab a cup and spoon, and start mixing your favorite yogurt blend.

There are 14 flavors to choose from, and those rotate among a year-round total of 44, plus special flavors at holidays. Add any of 50 toppings available, and you are good to go. If you make a blend that you think is especially good, write it down and post it on the “Share Your Creation Board.”

Or, if you need inspiration about what flavors to mix, look there for other people’s favorites.

Berger believes she is living a blessed life. She loves her husband, children, community and Grace Church of Napa Valley, her church of the past 17 years. And she loves her business.

Yo Belle caters to Napa families. Stop by during the week until 9 p.m., or 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

See you downtown!

Craig Smith is the executive director of the Downtown Napa Association. Reach him at 257-0322 or craig@donapa.com.

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