El Monte frozen yogurt store is an industry and community winner – San Gabriel Valley Tribune

First, Pablo Tamashiro listened to his mother.

She was the one who found the site of what would become Cyber ​​Yogurt, at 3305 Tyler Ave. in El Monte. Then, he listened to his 13-year-old son Nevan. Having established his frozen yogurt business in 2009, Tamashiro said Nevan went on a plant-based diet and pushed his parents to look into sustainability practices for the store.

“His input was very valuable,” Tamashiro said. “He’s an inspiration to me.”

Today, Cyber ​​Yogurt’s acai bowls have earned top honors at the 2022 Reliant Expo trade show in Anaheim. Tamashiro’s acai bowl creations won three rounds in the Get Bowl’d competition. The first prize winner was the tropical island bowl (acai berry base with dragonfruit blended with mango, pineapple and coconut water). The peanut aya earned first in the next round, with its acai base blended with strawberries, banana and peanut butter.

The superfood-laden championship entry is also the most popular item on the Cyber ​​Yogurt menu: the Very Berry, acai berry and dragonfruit blended with strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and pressed apple juice.

The big win, which came with a $1,000 prize, is actually a repeat for Cyber ​​Yogurt. Tamashiro won first place in the competition in 2018, before the pandemic brought the expo to a pause. More than 70 companies and manufacturers, including bowl shops, specialty coffees, juice/smoothies and frozen yogurt, participated in the event.

Tamashiro, who was an Army cook before starting his own business, said the secret to making the best acai bowl is the same formula he uses for the shop.

“Our pillars are quality, service and sustainability,” he said. “We make everything fresh, from the eight frozen yogurt flavors, we use pure acai blended with frozen fruit, seven kinds of granola and toppings that are healthy and indulgent.”

Tamashiro picks the fresh fruit himself, driving to downtown LA’s wholesale fruit market to source ingredients for the shop. The yogurts come in familiar flavors, such as chocolate made with oat milk, strawberry tart, mango tart, sea salt caramel pretzel and Tahitian vanilla, to the more exotic, such as matcha and sea moss.

“Everything is high quality, and it’s a process, but everyone enjoys it,” Tamashiro said.

Cyber ​​Yogurt is also big on sustainability, using only bio-degradable containers, no plastics and upcycling agave straws and utensils. Food scraps are sent to the Rosemead Community Garden and the Arroyo Farm Lab at Arroyo High in El Monte. Ingredients are pre-portioned to encourage zero waste. The store’s delivery vehicle is all-electric.

Not surprisingly, Tamashiro is board president of the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Eco-Urban Gardens, which focuses on urban agriculture. It works to build farm labs in schools, grow gardens in underutilized lots and support communities with healthy living habits.

Community is a favorite word with Tamashiro. Downey-born and raised, he and his wife April moved to El Monte four years ago and quickly put down roots. He serves as a planning commissioner and is on the Citizens Oversight Committee for the El Monte Union High School District.

“We have been extremely blessed by this community, we’ve been embraced,” he said. “We always feel we need to give back. We have been so blessed, having customers come back from as far as Perris and Hesperia, Santa Clarita, even Washington state. We get college kids coming in now and we knew them from middle school. The kids are my main customers. We want to make sure we take care of them.”

The store plays host to a reading club for kids who borrow from Little Free Libraries around El Monte and South El Monte. Books with the store’s Reading Club sticker can be returned to Cyber ​​Yogurt, where the young reader can get a free cup of froyo. The store will even return the book to its location.

People who bike to the store can get a 10% discount, 15% if they are wearing a helmet. And since 2018, the store has paid for children to get lessons from the USA Taekwondo Center in El Monte. The store also recently became a stop for GoSGV, a regional e-bike sharing program led by the nonprofit ActiveSGV and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

Tamashiro is happy to have grown his business and make an impact on the San Gabriel Valley and the planet.

“I like what we’re doing. I’ve always liked this industry and I like bringing things to the community,” Tamashiro said.

And just as his family brought him to El Monte, so his bigger family, his community, keeps him here. Tamashiro said the future may see Cyber ​​Yogurt moving to a bigger location, but it will still be in the city he’s made his home.

Anissa V. Rivera, columnist, “Mom’s the Word,” Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Whittier Daily News, Azusa Herald, Glendora Press and West Covina Highlander, San Dimas/La Verne Highlander. Southern California News Group, 181 W. Huntington Drive, Suite 209 Monrovia, CA 91016. .