New SweetFrog frozen yogurt shop coming to Salisbury

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 17, 2011

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — The self-serve frozen yogurt fad has arrived in Kannapolis and soon will tempt dessert lovers in Salisbury.
SweetFrog, a fast-growing company based in Richmond, Va., has opened a frozen yogurt shop at exit 60 near Walmart in Kannapolis and plans to move into the vacant storefront next to Subway in Salisbury’s Towne Creek Commons in January.
Rob Eagle, who co-owns the new SweetFrog in Kannapolis, opened another location in Concord today across from Concord Mills and plans stores in Gastonia and Greensboro.
“By April, we will have four or five others,” Eagle said. “We gotta move fast because this is a pretty big craze going on right now.”
Eagle’s friend, Andy Barrick, owns the SweetFrog coming to Salisbury and said he’s making a “substantial investment” in the new location but declined to give a dollar amount. The renovation will include two new bathrooms, a wall of yogurt machines, topping bar, seating for 50 and outdoor benches.
Barrick, who lives in Virginia, said he had driven through Salisbury several times on business and felt the location off I-85 was perfect for SweetFrog when he became a licensee six months ago.
“There’s no frozen yogurt here, and it’s a great area because of the traffic from 85 and the colleges,” said Barrick, who’s also opening shops in Fayetteville and Columbus, Ga. “With the demographics, it’s a solid area.”
Nearby national brands — Starbucks, Subway, Chick-fil-A and the new Sprint store — should bring in foot traffic that will migrate to SweetFrog, Barrick said.
Only a few years old, the company should have between 55 and 60 locations by the end of the year, mostly in the South, he said. That number could double in the first half of 2012.
SweetFrog is “riding the wave of the self-serve concept,” Barrick said.
At SweetFrog and competitors, including Yogurt Lab in Kannapolis and Yogurt Mountain in Concord, customers create their own desserts. They wield the dispenser and control how much and what flavor yogurt they pump into their bowls.
“It’s great,” said Stephanie McClelland, who stopped at SweetFrog for the first time Wednesday. “Since you get it yourself, you decide the quantity and the toppings.”
The Kannapolis store offers eight machines with 24 flavors. Each machine pumps two flavors, and a third dispenser in the middle mixes them together for another flavor. The self-serve topping bar includes 60 different candies, syrups and fruits, from gummy worms to fresh pineapple.
Customers come in, grab a cup, fill it up, add toppings and then place it on a scale at the cash register. They pay by weight, about 39 cents per ounce. The average dessert weighs in between eight and 10 ounces, but some people can pay as much as $7 for a bowl loaded with toppings.
SweetFrog rotates dozens of yogurt flavors, including seasonal offerings like pumpkin now and island banana in the summer.
The unusual business name comes from Derek Cha and his wife Anna, who founded the Christian company. “Frog” stands for “fully rely on God,” Barrick said.
“We want to bless people as they come through the door, not just take their money and give them yogurt, but be a blessing to them,” he said.
Frozen yogurt, around since the 1970s, has enjoyed a resurgence in part because it’s healthier than ice cream, with no butterfat. An 8-ounce serving has 90 calories, without toppings.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

Now hiring
SweetFrog premium frozen yogurt needs three to four fulltime employees and about a dozen part-time workers to run a new store coming to Towne Creek Commons on East Innes Street, near Starbucks and Chick-fil-A. To apply, email or call 434-426-9949.