The Story Behind the Name “Ellenos”

Walkaround cup of Ellenos Greek yogurt at Pike Place Market scoop shop, in front of Ellenos neon sign.
A fresh-scooped cup of Ellenos at our Pike Place Market shop

While Ellenos has been serving up delicious flavors to the Seattle community for years now, did you know that it wasn’t until the night before opening day that our co-founders decided on the name “Ellenos?”

Our story began years earlier, when flight attendant Yvonne Klein first discovered Constantinos (Con) and Alex Apostolopoulos’ fresh-scooped yogurt in Australia. After sharing her new-found yogurt obsession with her husband, Bob, they created a plan to convince the Apostolopouloses to bring their yogurt over to the United States. (To read the full Ellenos story, click here!)

Fast forward to 2013, and the team was preparing for Ellenos’ opening day in Seattle…except it wasn’t called Ellenos yet. In fact, everyone had been so focused on getting every detail of the yogurt, the fruit purees, and the cookie crumbles right, that they hadn’t named it!

So, with less than 24 hours left before opening, Con sat down with a piece of paper and pen and started brainstorming.

Co-founder: Con Apostolopoulos holding a cup of Ellenos Greek yogurt
Co-founder (and Ellenos name inventor!): Con Apostolopoulos

Because the Apostolopoulos family emigrated from Greece to Australia, Con shared, “I knew one of the words had to be of Greek association. In Greece, the word ‘Hellenic’ means ‘Greek’ — or ‘Ellenic’, you’ll see it spelled a few different ways, actually — so, I looked at the word ‘Hellenic’ and thought, ‘What letters can I use from this to formulate a new word?'”

Eventually, Con ended up taking ‘Ellen’ from ‘Hellenic,’ and then started working on a way to incorporate his Australian roots into the name, too, as his family and their yogurt-making was influenced by incredible yogurt traditions from both countries. One of his ideas was to use the slang word “Oz” to represent Australia, but instead of the traditional spelling, Con went with “os.” Put them together, and you get “Ellenos.”

Four Co-founders: Con Apostolopoulos (left); Alex Apostolopoulos (back center); Bob Klein (right); Yvonne Klein (front center)
Co-founders: Con Apostolopoulos (left); Alex Apostolopoulos (back center); Bob Klein (right); Yvonne Klein (front center)

That evening, Con sat down with his three other co-founders — Alex, Yvonne, and Bob — to look at the list of names he’d come up with. As he suspected, they immediately knew “Ellenos” was the perfect fit when they saw it. Armed with a name, the team worked late into the night creating signs, flavor labels, and finishing touches.

The next morning, on July 5, 2013, they opened up the original Ellenos scoop shop on the corner of Pike St and Pike Pl in Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market.

When you first discovered us, what did you think “Ellenos” meant? Some have assumed that Ellenos was the last name of one of our founders, and a few have even addressed Con as, “Mr. Ellenos,” but now you know the true story behind the name “Ellenos!”

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