So, how does a single location (a second location has opened on Gall Blvd. in Zephyrhills) of a (so far; see below) non-chain that opened next to Bonefish Grill in a crowded, Wesley Chapel shopping center in 2013 continue to distinguish itself from its competition?
Happy Cow Frozen Yogurt co-owner Ray Perez says that, at his brightly colored dessert shop, “Our products and unique, Disney-like environment and customer-first attitude are only the beginning. We are still service-based, even though the product itself is self-serve.”
For example, he says, that every staff member is taught to bring high chairs for parents toting babies and toddlers and to bring napkins when they notice that a customer forgot to grab some.
Happy Cow offers up to 16 flavors at once (Ray says there are at least 100 being rotated), and not all of them are frozen yogurt.
“We’re a true dessert shop,” he says. “In addition to frozen yogurt, we have soft-serve ice cream, soft serve gelato, sorbet and we always have gluten-free, no-sugar-added and fat-free options. We also offer 60 different toppings, 7 sauces, freshly baked cookies and brownies, waffle cones and fresh fruit. We even recently added amazing milkshakes and even ‘epic shakes’ like Cookies & Cream Craze.”
And, despite being up against any number of chain frozen yogurt shops across the Tampa Bay area, Happy Cow was voted “Best in the Bay” by Creative Loafing readers for 2016. It also has been the Favorite Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt Shop” of Neighborhood News readers entering our annual Reader Survey & Contest (see pg. 42 of this issue) the last three years in a row. “We’re proud that the people who read those publications love us,” Ray says.
Ray, whose wife Kristi helps out at the two current locations on weekends, also is partners with Connie and Bill Rogers in the Happy Cow corporate entity, which is now beginning to sell franchises — and not just for locations in strip shopping plazas. “We’re looking to put Happy Cow kiosks in malls and even schools.”
And, although he can’t yet announce anything in terms of franchises that already are sold, he says, “There is a lot of interest from the public in our brand. I should be able to make some announcements soon.”
He also says that catering is a popular part of the Happy Cow experience, especially in family-oriented, growing Wesley Chapel.
“We brought in one of our mobile machines to Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel for an event and served 600 members of the hospital’s staff,” he says. “And, everyone went home happy.”
Personally, my favorite flavors are peanut butter and cake batter and I usually start with one of Happy Cow’s chewy, fudgy brownies as a base. I also always have to have the hot chocolate fudge, peanut butter fudge and/or marshmallow cream topping. The good news is that if you don’t like what I enjoy, Happy Cow’s variety of toppings and sauces will surely include something you love, too.
Ray says that Happy Cow also is the only yogurt shop that delivers through Uber Eats to a limited area, including to Meadow Pointe, Seven Oaks and even Grand Hampton in New Tampa, “and it’s taken off more than I expected, without marketing it to our 17,000 Facebook and Instagram followers.”
Happy Cow Frozen Yogurt also has a user-friendly “C’mon, Get Happy” Rewards Club with “no passwords, no cards, just fun.”
And, with the coupon from the ad on pg. 3 of this issue, you’ll get 15-percent-off any product at Happy Cow.
Happy Cow Frozen Yogurt (1646 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.) is open at 11 a.m. every day and stays open until 10 p.m. every weeknight and until 11 p.m. on Fri. & Sat. For more information, visit HappyCowFroYo.com or call (813) 428-5929 and please tell Ray and the crew you read about them in the Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News!