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Aspen Leaf offers free yogurt to hundreds
The chilly and rather windy weather conditions didn’t deter crowds of families seeking a free sample from Stone Oak’s newest frozen yogurt shop. More than 400 people stopped by Aspen Leaf Frozen Yogurt between 3 and 6 p.m. Wednesday to try one of 14 flavors of delicious creaminess and any of the 74 toppings. Guests were each given a regular-size serving cup and invited to fill it with as much yogurt, fruit and candy toppings as they desired.
“Our motto was, ‘Whatever you could fit in the cup,’” says Donna Coupe, Aspen Leaf’s vice president for franchise support and training. “Everyone seemed very happy.”
Free Yogurt Day was planned as a way for Aspen Leaf to officially introduce itself to the community. Open since Dec. 16 within the Village at Stone Oak shopping center near Hwy 281 and TPC Parkway, the self-serve yogurt shop is the first for Durango, Colorado-based Aspen Leaf, LLC. Three more stores will immediately follow in New Mexico, Idaho and Colorado and then the business will be opened up to franchising.
“Anyone could franchise and then they will really bring further locations to us,” says Coupe.
Although hardly new, yogurt has had a recent reinvention in the past year or two and other self-serve frozen yogurt chains have already popped up in San Antonio and in cities across the U.S. Yogurt, which can be a good source of protein, calcium and immune-boosting cultures, was even listed as one of the Top Ten Snack Trends for 2010 by the Food Network.
Although its self-serve concept and topping bar is similar to competitors, Aspen Leaf stands out among the others in terms of its flavors, sugar-free options and atmosphere. Along with its standard sorbet and sugar-free yogurt, Aspen Leaf will also dabble in what Coupe refers to as “mixology,” or the combination of both traditional and unique flavors.
Customers may find Rasberry Cherry Stick one day and White Pecan Bear the next. “We’ll have flavors you can’t find in any other yogurt store,” says Coupe. The same variety can be found at the topping bar which includes 75 different options. Along with plenty of fresh fruit, the topping bar also includes best selling sweets from Aspen Leaf’s parent company, the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
“We hope our topping bar is bigger than anyone else’s,” says Coupe.
With the self-serve concept, customers merely fill a cup with as much yogurt and toppings as they can handle. The price is the same no matter what is chosen – 42 cents per ounce.
Coupe says the store has already become a popular hangout for stay-at-home moms (and dads), students and clubs who are attracted to Aspen Leaf’s bright décor, comfy couches, free Wi-Fi and hip music. “People are very comfortable hanging out here,” she says.
The store plans to host a grand opening celebration in mid-February and is already planning a second “Free Yogurt” event. Aspen Leaf also expects to be a strong supporter of area schools and fundraisers.
“Our goal is to be heavily involved with the community,” Coupe says. “We’re really excited to be in San Antonio and look forward to watching this concept grow.”