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by Richard C. Ross

Journeys
Local Flavour
Faces
On Dining
Rants & Raves
On the Money
Etc

Perry's Steakhouse
Zucchini
Aliano's Ristorante
Forever Yogurt
The Rendez-Vu
Even Flow
Grilling
Couponing
Outdoor Dining
Rox City Grill
Exquisite Breakfast
The Reuben
3 Burgers
Chalk Hill
Rutherford Hill
Sonoma Cutrer
Wine with Dinner


Farmer's Markets: Fresh Fruit & Veggies for the Fox Valley


Ride the Fox River Bike Trail


Rich Flores - PGA Pro, Teacher & Friend

An interesting little ditty came back to mind the other day, one I used to often repeat as a kid: "You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!"  No clue where it came from; not sure why, really.   I do know that my whole family loved ice cream -- especially my father -- and, as a kid, we used to make a trip every Sunday to an ice cream parlor for our weekly treat.  By the way, I still love ice cream and eat a portion at almost every opportunity I get.  Perhaps though, the memory was invoked just prior to a conversation I had recently with the owner of a new business venture in St. Charles.  It will be an iteration of "Forever Yogurt" (frozen yogurt) and will take up residence on the southeast corner of Main Street (Route 64) and South Second Street (Route 31) in Saint Charles.

Curious about the new store and at the same time interested to see just what motivated him, I called David Brown, lifetime resident of St. Charles, owner and franchisee of the new venture and asked if I could get a few minutes of his time to ask a few questions.  He graciously consented, and the several-hour conversation left me anxiously anticipating the opening and wanting to try some of the frozen treat.  But I am getting way ahead of myself...

A bit of background information might be of assistance here.  OK... so, although the actual origins of the product are unknown, people have been both making -- and eating, obviously -- yogurt for a very long time.  It is, according to information provided by Mr. Brown from Forever Yogurt:

"made by culturing dairy ingredients with the bacterial cultures Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus... in a... perfect environment for the bacteria to grow."  "The manufacturer also adds additional cultures such as Lactobacillus lactis and Bifidobacterium when making yogurt.  We never heat treat yogurt after it is made.  Heating would kill the cultures and you would lose the potential benefits."

Exactly how it is made is probably a description for another article and likely not what is of interest to most who will eat the frozen variety.  However, according to Wikipedia:

"Yogurt is nutritionally rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.  It has nutritional benefits beyond those of milk. Lactose-intolerant individuals can sometimes tolerate yogurt better than other dairy products..."

And therein lies so much of the good news.  Suffice it to say that yogurt is a healthful and tasty dairy product that, even in its low-fat version, is also very good for you, for a number of reasons; in a time where diet is of great concern, yogurt is a wonderful addition. 

Yogurt (the simplest of several spellings) has had several go-rounds in America, going all the way back to the '50s and '60s.   For the frozen variety -- according to a frozen yogurt industry report -- the first wave of frozen yogurt fandom was actually in the 1980s.  But frozen yogurt now seems to be enjoying a renewed surge in popularity; a concept now referred to as FroYo, "The Freeze" is really beginning to take hold across the country.  I did a very rough count and found almost a dozen different frozen yogurt franchise names totaling over 600 stores (at least) in the United States alone.   With numerous corporate franchise names, the Chicago area seems to be no stranger to the frozen fad, and the FroYo wars for turf and fans are heating up as we speak. 

People have been making yogurt for over 4000 years.  The frozen variety though, has recently exploded onto the food industry scene because of the known health benefits and delectable taste; years of studies have established the benefits of yogurt in the digestion of milk proteins, lactose intolerance and calcium supplementation.  More recent health studies have also determined that yogurt produces a gastrointestinal bacteria that may protect against cancers of the colon and breast.  All of Forever Yogurt's frozen yogurt varieties are gluten-free, non-fat or low fat and contain active, live cultures.

Getting back to David Brown, his decision to start a Forever Yogurt franchise in St. Charles seemed almost -- at least to hear him talk about it -- a sort of revelation.  He and his wife Lisa were in Boulder, Colorado where their twin daughters were enrolled as college freshman.  After dinner one night, the twins said there was a great place they wanted to go for dessert.  Destination?  A small storefront in a strip mall.  The line was literally out the door and a half-block long at a FroYo shop (needless to say, Boulder residents love the product!).  David said he was surprised to see that the line actually moved fairly quickly.  The "gimmick" was the fact that one could serve one's self, loading a cup with as much of the frozen treat -- and as much of the available toppings -- as desired; it was all self-serve and the resulting cost was a simple calculation based on a price by weight for the sweet and delectable goodness.

It wasn't just the tangy and delicious flavor, though (there are actually close to 100 different flavors that can be combined with over 60 possible toppings), or the product concept of self-serve frozen yogurt that got Brown's attention; it was the format that he found interesting.  And "When we learned that there was a new Chicago-based self-serve frozen yogurt franchise (Forever Yogurt), we were intrigued."  Even though the Browns originally had no plans to open or run a franchise, after visiting several stores (lines in Chicago stores were always out the door, too) they became enamored of the product and its quality.   The fact that Forever Yogurt was a Chicago-based company also factored into their decision.   "... our curiosity ultimately turned into enthusiasm, and St. Charles seemed to be the perfect fit for the concept and a great addition to the downtown area."

The rest will be determined come mid-April, when the Brown's St. Charles Forever Yogurt franchise is scheduled to open.  Their store will definitely have its own unique character and identity; no two Forever Yogurt locations are identical.  According to David, "we will rotate through up to 70 different froyo flavors, offering 16 at time along with over 50 toppings."  Other than that, David said that he and Lisa are taking things one step at a time, "wanting to make certain that the new St. Charles store is a success in every possible way and that additionally it will provide a great place for young people to work and have positive life experiences while learning important life skills."

The flagship Forever Yogurt store was founded in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago in 2010, and the City boasts over half-a-dozen stores, each with its own look and personality.  (By the way, Forever Yogurt is now listed in the top five of Chicago's best frozen yogurt.)  The number of locations is growing quickly and the brand is spreading outward to the suburbs, as well as to numerous other states.  David and Lisa Brown will soon have something new in St. Charles that no one else in the local area has, and they're betting that their own Forever Yogurt store will garner success and a huge fan base.  I'm still a pretty big ice cream-aholic...   But I gotta tell you, after sampling the product, I'm betting the Browns are right.  and I may soon be chanting: "you scream, I scream, we all scream for... Forever Yogurt!"

 

 

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