NAME: HUGH HADFIELD
Job: Owner, CherryBerry Self-Serve Yogurt Bar at 6100 N. Illinois St. in Fairview Heights (618-622-8580/www.cherryberryyogurtbar.com)
Outlook: "Before we got involved, I didn't know there was a difference. I thought yogurt was yogurt. But when they taste it and we talk about it a little bit, that opens their eyes because it is a different product and they're not all the same."
The first St. Louis-area franchise for CherryBerry Self-Serve Yogurt Bar opened two months ago in Fairview Heights, where owner Hugh Hadfield believes he is selling more than sweet frozen treats, but also a healthier alternative. Hadfield recently invited business writer Will Buss to his new business to talk about it:
Q: Why did you became a franchisee with this company?
A: "We just looked into it and we liked frozen yogurt and had frequented local places. That's where the bells went off and we decided to check into it."
Q: What did you like about CherryBerry?
A: "It's really family friendly and family oriented. We've been in some of the others and they all seem to have a theme and they try to cater to a certain crowd, which just didn't appeal to us."
Q: How is CherryBerry frozen yogurt different from other frozen yogurt businesses?
A: "It's not totally different. Most are similar, but I think one of the key factors with ours is this is an all-natural yogurt product. It's produced at the dairy, it's shipped frozen, stored frozen and then once it arrives here, it goes into our refrigerators and starts to thaw. From that point on, it's like a milk product and it has an expiration date, which causes some issues in the slow months because it's hard to measure how much product you're going to need and how much you thaw. But it's a better product. It has all of the pro-biotics that are in the yogurt product, the active cultures that are in there. It's a scientific fact, and I'm not a scientist, but from the research and studying that we've done, this is a much more healthier product. It's similar in taste and consistency, but it's not the same. Customers have told us that they can tell the difference in the texture and they can tell the difference in the consistency of it and that it is smoother. And the healthy issues just tops it off. They're good for digestion. They're actually healthy and almost necessary for good digestion. I'm not saying it's this miracle vitamin product. But if you have to choose, the one with the active cultures and pro-biotics is a healthier product for you. The down side is the shelf life for ours is limited."
Q: How many flavors do you have?
A: "We've got 21 rotating flavors. There is no real set timeline, it's just by customer requests and what's in season. We've got some seasonal flavors that we're rotating in and out. Pumpkin pie is a seasonal flavor, we've got a spiced apple, we've got an egg nog, we have a candy cane flavor that we rotate in to the season. Then by the first of the year, heading into next spring, we'll change those out. There's almost 200 flavors available. We have seven machines with two flavors each and then there's the super swirl, which is a blend the two. We have 40 toppings available. They are dry toppings like candy and cookie crumbs and nuts and things like that. We also have syrups, candy mints and fresh fruit. It's all self-serve. That's the beauty of it. The customer fills their cup, tops it and pays. They get exactly what they want every time."
Q: What have you enjoyed most about your newest business?
A: "I like meeting the people and hearing the comments that they make, their ideas and their thoughts about the whole process. I get to explain to them the differences in the products that are available. It's quite interesting to see. Before we got involved, I didn't know there was a difference. I thought yogurt was yogurt. But when they taste it and we talk about it a little bit, that opens their eyes because it is a different product and they're not all the same."
Contact reporter Will Buss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2526.