Yogurtini part of growing frozen yogurt trend

2012-09-28T05:00:00Z Yogurtini part of growing frozen yogurt trendBy JEFF KORBELIK / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

Yogurtini enjoyed a strong summer thanks to the incredibly hot weather.

“We’re looking forward to next summer, when we don’t have to start from the bottom now that we’ve navigated our first one,” said Roger Clark, who co-owns the store with his wife, Beth. “It will be interesting to see.”

As will the Clarks' first winter of selling self-serve frozen yogurt that’s primarily consumed when it’s hot.

“The whole year has been learn as you go,” Roger Clark said.

The Clarks opened Yogurtini in April on North 48th Street in the shopping center anchored by Super Saver. It’s on the south side of the big-box store.

The couple moved to Lincoln from Colorado to start the business because they have relatives in Nebraska. Roger Clark worked 25 years in the grocery industry, while Beth was a special-education teacher.

They also liked Lincoln because the market wasn't so saturated with self-serve frozen yogurt as Colorado was. Of course, that has changed with a variety of yogurt stores opening in the past year.

Yogurtini is a franchise created by Tempe, Ariz., natives and sisters Natasha and Chelsey Nelson. Yogurtini has stores in Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Nebraska, Kansas, Washington, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, New Jersey and New York.

The Clarks have opened the first one in Nebraska.

The store offers 16 rotating, fat-free, frozen yogurt flavors and more than 70 toppings. It attempts to appeal to all eaters, including vegans with a handful of sorbets. Yogurtini also labels flavors for those sensitive to gluten or allergic to nuts.

The price is appealing at 39 cents an ounce. The Clarks also run in-store deals, including a Sunday special that garners 15 percent off the order if you bring in the program from your church service.

I stopped in Tuesday for an afternoon snack. The aqua-colored store is clean, incredibly so. The Clarks try to greet every customer who comes in the door, a nice touch. They hand out sample-size cups and are ready to answer any questions about the yogurt, the machines or the toppings.

Customers will find the flavors creamy and tasty. I enjoyed three kinds on my visit -- Chelsey’s Cheesecake, Ultimate Chocolate and Peanut Butter -- topping them with a variety of chocolate goodies and yogurt pretzels.

A big draw -- outside the yogurt -- is the outdoor area, featuring plenty of seating and music.

Reach Jeff Korbelik at 402-473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com, or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/LJSjeffkorbelik.

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