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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Good bye Colombo

One of my favorites just vanished from the shelves....  Here's the story:
Goodbye, Colombo.

Born in Andover some 80 years ago, General Mills will stop production and distribution of Colombo Yogurt in the spring.

Colombo, which claims to be America's first yogurt brand, was started in 1929 by Robert Colombosian's Armenian immigrant parents, Rose and Sarkis, in the family's home in Andover.

Robert Colombosian, 84, has been a part of the company, now in Methuen, since he was 12.

Yesterday, Colombosian said he was disappointed with the decision by General Mills.

"It is a big part of my life," he said. "It is all of it really."

"The worst thing (General Mills) can do is drop the brand," he said. "It is the oldest yogurt brand in the United States."

Heidi Geller, manager of corporate public relations at General Mills, said yesterday in a statement that the company decided to drop the Colombo brand to concentrate on the growth of Yoplait, also owned by the company.

The Methuen factory will continue to operate at the same level producing Yoplait products and no employees will be let go, Geller said.
Within the last month, Stop & Shop has stopped stocking the product, while Market Basket and other chains still offer them. David McLean, operation manger at Demoulas Super Markets Inc., which operates Market Basket, said they were told shipping of the product was scheduled to end on Feb. 12.
Frances Found, 88, who was shopping at the Market Basket in Lawrence, said she has Colombo vanilla yogurt every day with lunch and is disappointed it will be stopped.
"It is a local brand; that is too bad," Found said. "I've been buying it for years, I'll have to buy a few more next time I shop."
Colombosian said he has enjoyed working with the company as a consultant and would like that to continue even without the Colombo brand.
In 2001, General Mills hired Colombosian and his wife, Alice, to star in a series of folksy television and radio advertisements for the brand.
Alice died in 2008 after a long illness.


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