Zebra Frozen Yogurt opened its doors with an impressive first week, according to owner Blanaid Colley.
"The crowd has been larger than we expected," said Colley. "Even though it was a soft launch, many people heard about us and wanted to come check us out."
The new business already has regular customers - people who come more than once a day for a tasty, healthy treat. The growing favorite frozen yogurt flavor, so far, has been the sea salt caramel pretzel.
Photo by SHANNEN HAYES
Blanaid Colley and Tara Kane serve frozen yogurt to customers during last week's soft opening at Zebra Frozen Yogurt in Bailey's Center
"Our first customer to buy a frozen yogurt was Kurt Faxon from Savannah, Ga.," said Colley. "In our excitement we forgot to get his name. We laminated the dollar and were really delighted when he returned the next day with his granddaughters, who were enthusiastic, and he signed the dollar and it will be framed."
Customers can choose from six frozen yogurt flavors - sea salt caramel pretzel, dreamy dark chocolate, Tahitian vanilla, strawberry sensation, strawberries and cream, and chocolate covered pretzel - or a mix called Zebra stripes. To top it off, there are toppings that include fresh fruit cut daily, candies like Kit Kat, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, Twix, Nerds and many more, plus other toppings like Oreos, brownies, granola, waffle and much more.
"Customers just love our wide range of 52 different toppings, the fresh fruit has been popular, but I have to say the traditional toppings like Heath bar, M&Ms and Reese's Pieces are some of our bigger sellers," said Colley. "The other interesting topping we are getting people to try is our popping boba - they are boba, also known as pearls, with juice inside that 'pops' inside your mouth.
It's a growing craze among frozen yogurt aficionados and now many Sanibel and Captiva visitors at Zebra have become fans," concluded Colley, who decided to start Zebra out of a love of frozen yogurt.
For more than 20 years, Colley and her children biked to the former Nick's Frozen Yogurt shop in the Bailey's Center for a frozen treat when on vacation and then as Sanibel residents. When Nick retired more than a year ago, they missed the treats and started thinking it would be great to have another frozen yogurt store.
"We have been running the Coffee Bar @ Baileys for the past three years and so have had the experience of setting up and running a food and beverage business from scratch," said Colley. "My family and I have been frequent visitors to both frozen yogurt and ice-cream stores all over the country and particularly liked the clean, modern look and felt that Sanibel was a perfect location for such an offering."
They refined the modern frozen yogurt business model and made it a full-service operation so they could retain that personal touch that is well liked amongst the islands' residents and guests. For now, Colley plans to focus on getting Zebra running to full capacity and make it a very successful operation.
"We have plans to expand beyond Sanibel, but only when we are satisfied that we have got every single aspect right," said Colley. "Every day people ask me if Zebra is in fact a franchise, and when they find out that it is our own concept and design, some ask about franchising opportunities."
Zebra Frozen Yogurt is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. everyday and located in the Bailey's Center, 2467 Periwinkle Way.