Your choices for self-serve frozen yogurt are growing.
Yogurt Cafe opened late last month in the former location of Chocolate Paper near the corner of Electric Road and Brambleton Avenue. Up the road at Hunting Hills Plaza a franchisee is opening Menchie’s, a California company.
They join five other self-serve frozen yogurt shops in the region: Frogurt in downtown Roanoke, Sweet Frog at Towers Shopping Center, Sweet Pete’s at Ridgewood Farms Shopping Center in Salem, Frosty Parrot in Blacksburg, and BTO in Radford.
Mei Chen, owner of Yogurt Cafe, is no stranger to the food business. She’s worked in Asian restaurants most of her life, and her brother owns Cafe Asia at the Bonsack Kroger Shopping Center.
Chen previously owned an Asian market, China Taste, in Garden City in Roanoke and another store by the same name in Bedford County. She also owned Bejing, an Asian market in Rocky Mount and Mei China City at Westlake Towne Center in Moneta. She sold all those businesses to open the frozen yogurt shop.
Yogurt Cafe serves 10 flavors of frozen yogurt, plus toppings, for 45-cents an ounce. It also serves coffee and pastries.
Menchie’s, based in Encino, Calif., is opening a franchise store near the new Kohl’s. The franchise owner, Cary Broome, is a Roanoke County resident and a retired UPS worker.
Broome said that he’s been looking for something to do since he retired. The idea to open a franchise came to him last Thanksgiving, when he visited a Menchie’s in Maryland while visiting family.
“We’d never seen anything like it,” he said.
He bought the franchise agreement in January, but it’s taken nine months to locate the right spot for the shop, he said. He’s leasing a 2,500 square-foot space at the shopping center.
Broome expects to be open Dec. 1. He said that he hopes the shop will be a place for teens to hang out. He has a daughter who is a junior at Cave Spring High School, and right now she and her friends go to Buffalo Wild Wings to meet up.
He said he’s a little concerned about the competition from the other frozen yogurt stores that have opened this year, but has confidence in Menchie’s business model. He hasn’t settled on a price, but said it would be from 39 to 41-cents per ounce.
Have these self-serve frozen yogurt shops caught on with you and your families?