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The Buzz: Orange Leaf brings froyo to Grand Chute

Apr. 19, 2013
 
Orange Leaf shares a building with a future Starbucks branch on College Avenue in Grand Chute.
Orange Leaf shares a building with a future Starbucks branch on College Avenue in Grand Chute. / Maureen Wallenfang/Post-Crescent Media

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Self-serve frozen yogurt, known as froyo, is not a passing fancy if you look at the numbers. The froyo market reached $890 million in the U.S. in 2012, and that’s adding up just the top 10 frozen yogurt shops, according to research firm Technomic.

One on the top 10 list, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt — at No. 7 with an estimated volume of $76.5 million — is poised to open in Grand Chute at 3310 W. College Ave., between Panera Bread and Aspen Dental.

It will share a new brick building with a future Starbucks, which is expected to open in late May.

At press deadline, the Orange Leaf shop was still going through its final inspections. It will open as soon as inspections are complete, possibly this weekend.

The shop is a franchise owned by Green Bay Packers players Jordy Nelson and Mason Crosby along with two other investors, Brock Edmonds and Wes Straehla. The group also owns the Ashwaubenon Orange Leaf that opened late last year. Franchise branches cost between $250,000 and $350,000 each.

“We’ll have a grand opening in the future and we’re hoping Jordy and Mason will be here,” said Edmonds, who is the franchise group’s regional manager. “We’re trying to find a date based on their schedules.”

Edmonds said Jordy and Emily Nelson were the reason why Orange Leaf took a look at Northeastern Wisconsin. “They’re from Manhattan, Kansas and they loved the Orange Leaf there. Their son has a lactose allergy and they could bring him to Orange Leaf because he could have the orange and pineapple flavors, which are lactose free. They worked with us to get one in Green Bay, and we planned on doing two.”

He said the Grand Chute branch took longer because it was built from scratch. Ashwaubenon’s took an existing building.

Self-serve frozen yogurt has been popular around the country for more than five years, but it’s just now getting a toehold in the Fox Cities. CherryBerry was the first to open here last July on Appleton’s east side. The top three volume shops in the U.S. are Yogurtland, Pinkberry and Freshens. Full-serve TCBY has been around for decades.

Self-serve yogurt shops have a wall of levers and variety of yogurt flavors, including a few that are dairy or gluten free. Some of Orange Leaf’s most popular flavors are cheescake, wedding cake, brownie batter and mango. The toppings bar has fruit, candy, nuts and Ghirardelli syrups. Customers pay 45 cents an ounce, and they can earn discounts with a rewards card.

Orange Leaf, based in Oklahoma, has 231 stores and another 136 on the way, making it one of the fastest growing yogurt chains.

—Maureen Wallenfang: 920-993-1000, ext. 287, or mwallenfang@postcrescent.com; on Twitter @wallenfang

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