Brooklyn entrepreneur enters the business of sweets
Tamerra Griffin | 9/26/2013, 3:08 p.m.
Brooklyn Swirl celebrated its one-year anniversary in June, and even as temperatures decrease, it continues to receive a steady stream of customers that reflect the neighborhood’s diversity.
“I cater to the young kids, seniors, hipsters, poets, artists—everyone,” Jean Alerte said. He offers a generous senior citizen discount and hosts open mic nights every second Sunday. For the ultra health-conscious, he rotates two new vegan sorbets each month, like mango and pink lemonade. He also constantly promotes a cardless loyalty program, in which every sixth cup of yogurt is on the house, a refreshing take on most frozen yogurt shops’ requisite 10-cup purchase discount program.
“I did that because I know where I am,” Jean Alerte said. “I didn’t need an MBA to tell me to do that. I know my community. I know what I need to do to function.”
Frank Gateau is the CFO at Alerte, Carter & Associates, and has known Jean Alerte since the third grade. Gateau said that throughout their history as friends and business affiliates, Jean Alerte’s ambition has always been apparent.
“When he has a vision, he always follows through with it,” he said. According to Gateau, when Jean Alerte called him and recruited him to the ACA team, “‘if’ was never in our thought process. There was never a reason to look back.”
Jean Alerte dismisses the idea of pursuing his goals for the sake of praise, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t taking notice. Last Tuesday, Jean Alerte was honored at Black Street’s Black Celebration, alongside power players like Mikki Taylor and Isaiah Washington. Not surprisingly, he was given the Trailblazer Award.