If you're looking to beat the heat and cool down with a sweet treat this summer, there are plenty of new options available.
Over the past year, self-serve frozen yogurt shops like Cherry Berry, Freeziac, and Tutti Fruitti have started popping up all over the metro, including six stores in Plymouth, Maple Grove, and Brooklyn Park alone.
"It's not just something that's happening in the Twin Cities, it's happening all over the country," said franchise expert Mike Welch of FranNet Minnesota.
The self-serve frozen yogurt chains, which lets customers fill up their own cup with different yogurt flavors and toppings, are a hot franchise right now in part because it taps into the health conscious section of the market. The franchise is also relatively affordable compared to other fast-food businesses, according to Welch, and it requires minimal employees and on-site supervision.
"The customer is actually going in and doing the labor now, self–serving, it changes what the bottom line of the business looks like," said Welch. "That's very attractive to investors."
Oklahoma-based Cherry Berry currently has 11 frozen yogurt shops in the state with plans to open up five more franchises in the next three months.
"As a whole we're doing really well," said Dan Nelson, Operations Manager for Cherry Berry of Minnesota. "Nine of the 12 top Cherry Berrys in the country are located in our Minnesota/North Dakota market, so we're doing something up here, and it's working."
Welch said he believes the Twin Cities has yet to reach market saturation for frozen yogurt shops, which means we're bound to see even more self-serve shops on the scene. Those new businesses will inevitably hope for returning customers like Kaylyn Knopp, who has made Cherry Berry a regular stop.
"It's just frozen yogurt, but I think it's something about people love being able to pick their own, you know fill up their own cups, and all the cool toppings," said Knopp.
Alexandra Renslo reporting
July 23, 2012