WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Do you like to stop for sweet treats on these hot summer days? If so, it seems like you’re not alone.
There are about a dozen frozen yogurt shops in the Wilmington area, and the growth shows no signs of stopping.
Back in 2010, the Fuzzy Peach opened up shop on Racine Drive as the first self-serve frozen yogurt bar in Wilmington. Now they’re on almost every corner, popping up all over the place. It’s the Cold War here in the Port City.
Just like a scene out of the ’90s, frozen yogurt is again king of the mountain.
Here in wilmington, it all goes back to three UNCW grads, who caught FroYo fever after sampling some in California.
“We had to teach people what frozen yogurt was and how self-serve worked, because we were one of the first on the east coast, not just in Wilmington,” Fuzzy Peach co-founder Rocco Quaranto said.
Once the yogurt was flowing, it quickly became clear the Port City was hooked.
“People just started flooding in the door, and we were like, ‘Wow, we have something here,'” Quaranto said.
Self-serve yogurt had arrived.
Here’s how the process works: You pick out whatever kind of bowl you want, whether there’s a brownie in the bottom or just a plain bowl itself. You fill it up with whatever kind of yogurt you choose. Then, go over to the topping bar. That’s where you can really make any kind of yogurt creation you want.
“You get to make it what you want,” customer Alycen Nguyen. “It’s not someone else making it for you. So you can just create your own masterpiece.”
And there’s a lot of folks making masterpieces.
In just two years we have not only five Fuzzy Peach stores but PolarBerry, Brrrberry, Sweet Frog, Fresh Berry, Honeybees, Tutti Frutti and Orange Leaf.
“If anybody’s doing really well with it, and it appears to be easy, everybody wants to jump on board because of the hopes and dreams of it being successful, and again it appears to be easy. It’s not! I’m here to tell you it’s not easy,” Brrrberry owner Sandy Hutchens said.
At least initially, it was local start-ups like Fuzzy Peach and Brrrberry, but lately national chains have been seeing the success in town, and setting up shop, too.
“(We’re) part of a chain,” Orange Leaf owner Dennis Quaranta said. “We have 170 stores open throughout the country right now, by August we’ll have over 200 stores open.”
All these stores, offering a similar product, in a relatively small city it begs the question: Will there be some casualties in this Cold War?
“I kind of wonder when you come into an area and you’re store number 12, or store number 13 or 14, what are you bringing to the table that’s any different or any better than what’s already there? I don’t know,” Hutchens said. “I think Wilmington’s definitely big enough to support several.”
“There definitely is a lot of competition,” Quaranto said. “I don’t know of too many other markets that have as many frozen yogurt shops as that. Competition always makes you better.”
With all this competition for customers, stores will continue to roll out new flavors and new products trying to win over your tastebuds. Until then, go ahead and stock up on your favorite, whatever it is.
And if all those choices weren’t enough, national giant TCBY is setting up shop in Wilmington on Oleander Drive next to Whole Foods.