So, what is that sets Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt — now open for several months in the same outparcel building that also includes the new Irish 31 at the Shops at Wiregrass mall — apart from its competition?
Based on my experience with first-time franchise owners Sheilla and Leroy Lee, two U.S. Army veterans (she spent four years in the service; he has more than 20 years in the Army and retired as a Sergeant Major, the highest rank for a non-commissioned soldier), it’s the people.
They’re both warm and friendly and Sheilla, who is usually on-site at the store, is proud to call the Wesley Chapel Menchie’s a family-run business. Teenage daughters Tamara (photo) and Tiffany both work at the store, although Tamara was getting ready to head of to school at the University of Central Florida in Orlando as we went to press.
“We knew we wanted to buy a franchise and we did our research,” Sheilla says. “Even though we both originally wanted different types of businesses, we agreed that Menchie’s was an outstanding, growing franchise (now the largest frozen yogurt franchise in the U.S., with more than 500 stores worldwide and about 70 in Florida) with a built-in audience,” as Menchies.com says that more than 90 percent of households in the U.S. indulge in frozen desserts.
And, a truly delicious frozen dessert it is, with a dozen constantly-changing flavors that include everything from the most popular toasty marshmallow to no-sugar-added peanut butter and from name-brand favorites like chocolate caramel biscuit, made with real Twix bars, and Dole pineapple sorbet, to New York cheesecake and “Jumpin’ Java Latté.”
“We rotate the flavors in the store every two to three weeks and receive two new flavors every month,” Sheilla says. “We already have quite a few regulars who look forward to the new releases, like the new piña colada sorbet that came out earlier in August. Our customers really seem to love the product.”
And yes, it is a healthy option, with probiotic cultures that aid digestion, plus gluten-free, vegan, and no high fructose corn syrup options. Menchie’s also strives to use natural flavors including real cake, cookies, spices, fruits and nuts. The entire line of frozen yogurt is certified Kosher and is awarded the live and active culture seal by the National Yogurt Association.
But, what I love most at Menchie’s may not be the healthiest thing about it, because the toppings rock my world. With everything from chocolate fudge and liquid marshmallow toppings to ground Kit-Kat and Reese’s candy bars, gummy worms and oh yeah, fresh strawberries and pineapple, I’m definitely a fan of the toppings at Menchie’s.
There’s also a great variety of pre-made and custom-made froyo cakes, quarts and pints of different Menchie’s flavors in the store’s freezer, plus Menchie’s “merch” like T-shirts, cute swirl-headed dolls, kickballs emblazoned with the franchise’s logo and even tie-ins to major motion pictures, like the new “Emoji Movie” cups and spoons.
At only 56 cents an ounce, it’s certainly an affordable indulgence, too. And, with its ideal location between Irish 31 and Noble Crust at the mall, it’s sure to become an even bigger favorite, especially with the buy-one, get-one-half-off coupon from the ad on pg. 38 of this issue. Speaking of savings, you’ll get another coupon for 20-percent off your next purchase when you donate a dollar to the American Heart Assn. at Menchie’s.
Great yogurt, even better toppings and people and super savings? You owe it to yourself to try Menchie’s today!
Menchie’s is located at 28356 Willet Way. For more info, call (813) 991-0365, search “MenchiesShopsatWiregrass” on Facebook or visit Menchies.com.