Sweet CeCe’s

We live in Franklin, TN, a quaint little town with rich heritage and eateries. Recently a new place – Sweet CeCe’s popped up in a space that has been used unsuccessfully by several sandwich, coffee and ice cream businesses.  So I cringed when I saw yet another “yogurt” place open there recently.  And frankly I thought here goes someone else’s failed dream.

Friday night Joanne and I were cruising through town at and I suggested we at least try this little place.  After parking we walked past Ben & Jerry’s (5 customers present) and Starbucks (8 people inside).  We approached Sweet CeCe’s and I thought there must be some kind of party going on – people were everywhere, with a waiting line of about 20 people.  Being curious – and awed by what we had seen – we visited it again Sunday night at about 10:00 PM.  Being a balmy evening probably helped.  But there were over 50 people standing around outside enjoying their Sweet CeCe’s cups.  Inside there were another 30 seated and approximately 40 in line.

What’s the deal?  Every business has to have a “unique selling proposition” (USP).  At Sweet CeCe’s you draw your own yogurt, add you own fresh fruit toppings or any of a wide variety of goodies, then have your treat weighed and pay by the weight.  There are no prices shown for anything – you simply make your concoction and pay by the weight.  The menu is very limited and not unlike plenty of other establishments.  But their USP draws like a magnet.

Do you know your USP?  Whether you are an employee, physician, dentist, pastor, teacher, web designer, author, artist, musician, human resource director, professor, politician, or entrepreneur, you must know what makes you remarkable.  Without that, your success will be mediocre or non-existent.

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14 Responses to “Sweet CeCe’s”

  1. Joanne Miller Says:

    You failed to mention that this was incredible eating! The smoothest frozen yogurt we had ever eaten and lots of flavors of it…………And yes, we HAD to sample the product BOTH times!! :)

  2. matthewcasteel Says:

    I love it! It always comes back to the USP. I have to keep that in mind. As someone who is putting together a model of public speaking and live music presentations for kids and their families maybe I should take CeCe’s lead and charge per weight of the audience at each event I show up to.

  3. Mark Says:

    How long will it last? A unique selling proposition will bring first time business but if the product is not good it wont llast long.

  4. William Says:

    To Mark

    I have to disagree! The usp is the core of the MARKETING plan of any establishment or business. You may say the quality will make or break it in the long run but there are too many real life examples that prove that to be false. I also had the same idea that a quality product is what sells but its not that at all – its the way its being sold.
    My case in point – take the coffee folgers. By far NOT the highest quality product on the shelf considering the options. But it IS BY FAR the highest selling brand by volume. Why? Well my generation grew up singing the jingle ” The best part of waking up is folgers in your cup”
    We also saw the commercials in magazines and billboards and then saw the commercials on tv of restaurants selling it.
    Did the quality change? Nope, I can go buy a can and it will still be the same junk they have always been pushing since the 70’s, irregardless of the latest surge in coffee popularity and increase of choices on the counter. Why do people buy folgers when the quality of it is so lower than others available?
    Marketing. Pure and simple.
    Now granted, even folgers has come along way offering more types and kinds of coffee in order to stay on top of the demand brought on by other great marketing schemes like STARBUCKS. (Another not so great product) But that is what happens in any kind of market – it eventually changes.
    Overall I think the USP of Folgers started out as an almost “subliminal education” because back when they started nobody was going to starbucks or the local shops to drink 4 dollar cups, so nobody knew what was supposed to be good – so they bought what folgers marketing told them was good. It worked.

  5. lifethrulennonseyes Says:

    Sweet CeCe’s is pure heaven,huh? The most addicting place ever. My 9 month old knows the building now. Sad,but true…. That company knows what it is doing. http://www.bekahrussom.com

  6. andy traub Says:

    Dan, I’ll make sure to take you and the wife out to CeCe’s next time I’m in town. As for my USP… I understand social media AND I understand what makes businesses grow. Most people are either techies who don’t speak English like the rest of us or they’re consultants who only know how to work their email. I connect my technical knowledge to businesses with needs to grow and that makes me unique. Thanks for reminding me of that and thanks for asking.

  7. Dan Miller Says:

    Andy – let’s be sure to hit CeCe’s when you come to town. And yes, they are also using Twitter, FaceBook, having a design a CeCe’s t-shirt contest and sponsoring local events.

  8. Jason Garey Says:

    I love these kinds of local success stories. I remember a story my dad told me years ago. He was a manufacturers rep for a garbage disposal manufacturer who, no question, made the best disposal in the business. A little start-up company came along and started reaching out to the market in fresh and exciting new ways.

    Guess what? As this new garbage disposal maker started grabbing more and more market share the big dog sat by and scoffed at their “gimmicks”, deciding to stick to their “proven, tried and true” methods. They probably thought it was a trend, like the pet rock or something. Eventually, the top dog took second place and then their company fell off the map.

    Was the start-up company’s product better? No. But their connection to real people was. Who was the Goliath of garbage disposal manufacturers before encountering the scrawny, but wise little David of food grinding? Ever heard of Waste King? Probably not, but you may have heard of Insinkerator (ISE).

  9. TGIF Says:

    I don’t understand why this is a success… I spend my hard earned money, and I have to wait on myself/make the food myself? I can do that at home and save the money and not go out. So why would I go to any business and pay money to make my own food?

    this is like the self checkout in the grocery store, which I won’t use. If I pay my money, I want someone scanning the items and bagging them for me… I mean I go get the stuff, put it in my cart, take it to the checkout… now I have to scan and bag it too? No thanks. if I have to do all this myself shouldn’t the prices be lower?

    at any rate I hope the business is a success. I hope they make that location a success.

  10. Ralph Says:

    One of the key tricks to success is just simply being different. Sounds like this is what they are doing..something off the beaten path. The location is also key; Franklin, TN is a hip, YUPPY, (do they even use that term anymore?),affluent town.Try putting up a joint like this in small rural, close-minded Wal-Mart town …it would go over like a lead balloon!

  11. Dan Miller Says:

    Time will tell if Sweet CeCe’s success will last. But based on my ongoing “research” – Joanne and I have been there multiple times now – it seems to be a solid idea. The employees are all “Sweet Judy,” Sweet Mary,” etc. If they can keep great people giving samples and taking customer payments I think they’ll rock for a long time.

    I’ll keep you posted with by doing the necessary research – having written about it I now feel obligated to go test the merchandise at least a couple of times a week.

  12. Scott Myers Says:

    Dan, thats very kind of you to offer – all that hard work of sampling delicious treats – but somebody has to do it

  13. Sutton Parks Says:

    I love Ce Ce’s! I thought the same thing when I saw a yogurt shop being added to downtown Franklin; there is already a Ben n Jerry’s and a Baskin Robbins, the market is saturated already, and it is a seasonal business. Boy did they prove me wrong! I’ve been doing “research” there since they opened last year. They stayed busy in the winter as well as the spring, fall and summer. There are even lines in the winter. They give huge samples, change out flavors weekly, are always clean with fresh toppings, have a punch card (buy ten, get one free), double punches on the punch card on Tuesday’s, and are always pleasant. I really cannot define their USP, but the yogurt is superb! I visited one of their competitors in Cool Springs two weeks ago. They gave no samples, the yogurt tasted and looked like iced milk, and they cashier did not smile or say “Thank you” until I told her to have a nice day.
    I am going to keep an eye on Ce Ce’s, just to make sure they continue to keep their product fresh and delicious!

    It was nice to meet you and Joanne last week, Dan, at your book signing at Borders Books.

    Sutton Parks

  14. Dan Miller Says:

    Sutton – thanks for your note. It was good seeing you again at Borders on Saturday. And yes, CeCe’s rocks. Let’s keep doing our “research.”

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