A sweet new business is hopping to Hauppauge, jumping on the new frozen yogurt trend in time for the summer's heat.
SweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt has taken over the abandoned space at 601 Veterans Highway and Route 111 between Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Vallarta Mexican Grill. It is the first SweetFrog location in New York.
SweetFrog is a premium frozen yogurt shop that is entirely self-serve. Customers are free to create their own combinations of as many different flavors and toppings as they want. The frozen treats are charged by the ounce.
The store is decorated in bright shades of green, pink and blue. Cartoon-like depictions of the franchises' icons, Mr. and Mrs. Frog, appear on the walls and frozen yogurt dispensers.
“Our goal is to be bright, very fun and very family and friends oriented to everyone that walks in,” said Raven Williams, the sales and development manager for SweetFrog.
The Hauppauge store will offer up to 21 flavors and 70 plus toppings at any given time, according to Richard Shire, the master franchisers and store owner. SweetFrog's flavors range from vanilla and coconut, to cake batter and red velvet cake. There will also be up to 65 other flavors that will rotate in and out of the store, including several seasonal flavors during the holidays - like peppermint stick and pumpkin spice, according to Shire.
Shire says that most of the menu is low-fat and there will always be non-dairy, gluten-free and sugar-free options in stock. All flavors are kosher, according to Shire. Toppings include everything from fresh fruit to gummy bears to an array of chocolates.
The Hauppauge storefront, which has been abandoned for at least three years, was hand-picked by Shire because of its attractive location, he said. It will be next to the bustling intersection of 111 and Veterans Highway, near a busy Five Guys and close to Hauppauge High School.
“Both Five Guys and Vallarta Mexican Grille are busy and neither one of them serve a dessert like frozen yogurt, so we think with the large parking area and those two restaurants, it will do well,” Shire said.
SweetFrog claims it is different from its competitors like because other than serving frozen-yogurt, it organizes and carries out community outreach projects. According to Williams, the SweetFrogs in Virginia have visited various children’s hospitals, foundations and museums in the area.
“Our goal with this company and with this brand is to do a ton of community outreach in every community our stores open up in,” she said.
Shire plans to follow suit on Long Island with his Hauppauge location.
“Our goal is to do as much as we can with the schools, churches, sports programs, charities and a lot of public relations type things,” the owner said. “We would like to give back to the community and become part of the community."
Shire, has been in the swimming pool business for 28 years and has partial ownership of PoolMart in Nesconset, said he became interested in opening up SweetFrog in Hauppauge because he was positively influenced by his longtime friend, Patrick Biase.
Baise owns several SweetFrog stores in Virginia, which have done well. SweetFrog was started in Richmond, Va. in 2009 and currently has approximately 60 locations throughout the U.S. and one international location in South Korea.
The frozen yogurt franchise plans to quickly expand on Long Island. There will be a second SweetFrog opening up in Sayville just a few weeks after the Hauppauge location. There are also plans for a third location opening in Stony Brook, near the 711 across from the Stony Brook train station, according to Shire.
"We’re just looking forward to getting opened and serving the community,” Shire said.
By the end of spring 2012, SweetFrog is expected to have more than 160 locations in more than 15 states, according to Williams.