You've probably seen one. They're popping up all over the Lehigh Valley. In fact, there's probably one within a couple miles of your home. No, not a drugstore or a hair salon. I'm talking about frozen yogurt shops.
The latest addition is sweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt, which opened July 31 in the Village West shopping center at 3060 W. Tilghman St. in South Whitehall Township. The shop, part of a nationwide chain, joins a growing list of Lehigh Valley frozen yogurt venues that includes other recent additions Menchie's, Frozenlandia and Mixies.
"There's absolutely a trend," said sweetFrog manager Kaitlyn Lukehart. "Everyone's going healthy. And when it comes to ice cream, this is the closest alternative. You really can't taste the difference."
SweetFrog, which is trimmed in pink, turquoise and lime green, features 14 original flavors — 21 counting twists that combine two flavors. For example, cookies n' cream and Alpine vanilla make Double Stuf Oreo.
Flavors rotate periodically, but there are always two sorbets (no dairy) and two no sugar-added options. Homemade recipes, which include ingredients such as fresh strawberries, separate the shop from its competitors, says Lukehart, of Lancaster.
"We also feature 60 rotating toppings such as crushed candy, an assortment of nuts and granola and seven to 10 fresh fruits every day," she added.
The price of a customer's concoction is based on the treat's weight (43 cents per ounce or $6.88 per pound). Also for sale are shirts, hats, lunch boxes and other items displaying sweetFrog's mascots, Scoop and Cookie.
The opening of the Lehigh Valley's first sweetFrog comes on the heels of a multitude of other frozen yogurt shop debuts in the area. Most recently, Mixies Yogurt Cafe, which also sells gourmet coffee, smoothies, pastries and cupcakes, opened July 4 at 10 S. Fourth St. in Emmaus (former space of The Finish Line Running Store).
Frozenlandia, which offers Wi-Fi and a children's playground, opened June 5 at 24 Centre Square (former Bixler's Jewelers) in Easton, and a new Menchie's Frozen Yogurt franchise opened April 17 at 943 Airport Center Drive (in Airport Center shopping plaza next to Old Navy) in Hanover Township, Lehigh County.
According to the National Yogurt Association, yogurt's popularity as a nutritious and delicious snack or part of a meal has propelled annual sales to nearly $7 billion in the United States.
The frozen treat's infiltration has not ended as more self-serve frozen yogurt shops are on the horizon, including Yogurtree in the Quakertown Shopping Plaza at 1465 W. Broad St. (set to open by Sept. 1) and two YoFresh Yogurt Cafes (one in the former Blockbuster space at 2401 MacArthur Road in Whitehall Township and one at 680 N. West End Blvd. in Richland Township — both set to debut in early September).
For more information on sweetFrog, call 610-770-2540 or see sweetfrogyogurt.com.
There is no shortage of business activity in South Whitehall as three other stores opened in recent weeks.
Across the street from the Village West shopping center, Verizon Wireless opened July 1 at 3075 W. Tilghman St. (next to Zounds Hearing Aids). In addition to a wide selection of phones, the store also sells phone accessories such as chargers, cases and headsets. Info: 610-820-7000.
Second, Flex and Fit, an athletic running and apparel store, opened a little over a month ago in the Tilghman Square shopping center at 4680 Broadway.
The shop sells athletic shoes and apparel for men, women and children. A back-to-school sale (buy one pair of shoes, get second pair 25 percent off) is going on through Aug. 31.
According to Larken Associates, a residential and commercial real estate developer based in Hillsborough, N.J., Tilghman Square's retail stores are now fully leased following Flex & Fit's lease signing and the recent renewal of Amelia's Grocery Outlet's lease. Bagel Du Jour Bistro opened in April.
Finally, Baba Nonna, a store selling Slovak and Italian specialties, opened a few weeks ago at 2137 Walbert Ave.
Husband and wife co-owners Tom and Margo Russoli make all their foods from scratch, including halupki (stuffed cabbage), haluski (cabbage and noodles) and pierogies (available in five varieties).
Homemade baked goods such as Italian wine cookies, kiffles and fruit-and-nut rolls may be purchased at the store or ordered online and shipped. Other original recipe items include candy and sauces, such as marinara and veal bolognese.