Carlos looking to freeze out ice cream with yoghurt treats
The coolest thing in the US at the moment is frozen yoghurt — and now it's available in the ice-cream parlour style Yo Cherry.
Yo Cherry — which opened for business in the heart of Hamilton's business district last Friday — offers all the joys of ice cream, but in no- or low-fat yoghurt with the added advantage of five active live cultures, three of them probiotic.
Owner Carlos Francis, who was a building contractor, said the downturn in construction lead him to start looking for a new business opportunity.
And on a trip to the States, he was struck by the explosion in ice-cream parlours and decided to to set up something similar in the city.
He said: “Business in building had been slow for a while, so I thought I would just put my energies into this and become an owner-operator.”
Mr Francis — who designed and built the stylish $200,000 red-tiled, green and white interior of his Bermudiana Road premises himself — added: “The response from the community has been amazing.
“We've only been open a few days, but we've had big crowds from day one.
“We opened in the pouring rain, and people were still in and out. It was a bit chilly as well, but people were still in the store eating frozen yoghurt.”
Mr Francis added he and wife Regina, who works in reinsurance, originally looked at creating a traditional ice cream parlour — but after doing their research, decided frozen yoghurt was the treat of the future.
He said: “It was a two-year process and during that time I became an expert on all aspects of the frozen yoghurt industry. I know what it's supposed to feel like, smell like and taste like.
“The frozen yoghurt we offer is just like ice cream — but you're getting the sinful taste of ice cream with added health benefits.
“People have been eating ice cream since the beginning of time — this is just a healthier version.”
The ingredients — sourced from the US — are created in a Food & Drug Administration-approved plant and are certified to contain active live cultures and as kosher.
The host of flavours on offer include strawberry, orange and creamier tastes like candy bar smash and ooey gooey cinnamon to whet the taste buds.
Yo Berry also offers custard-style ice cream, sorbets, cup cakes and cheese cake and traditional Italian-style ice cream as well.
And the former construction man is looking at building a mini-empire from his fresh start,
He said: “When I first thought of this, the plan was to do one central, one eastern and one western. That's in the long-term, but I think it's sustainable.
“Ice cream will always sell, although the stores may evolve and change over time.”