Arrow-right Camera

Washington Voices

Go Froyo hot item in frozen treat market

Tong Li, left, and Nancy Chen stand near the self-service dispensers in their shop, Go Froyo, Wednesday. (Jesse Tinsley)
Tong Li, left, and Nancy Chen stand near the self-service dispensers in their shop, Go Froyo, Wednesday. (Jesse Tinsley)

Wintry weather doesn’t seem to have hindered the popularity of gourmet frozen yogurt desserts and other chilled treats across Spokane Valley.

The area has actually become a hotbed for such new, mostly self-serve businesses over the past several months, where customers can find frozen treats in flavors such as New York Cheesecake, Cake Batter, Blueberry, Cappuccino and Alpine Vanilla.

Among those offering these desserts is Go Froyo, a locally owned company that opened its first store last fall in the Valley Plaza near Walmart. It followed with a new store in north Spokane, and has at least one more scheduled to open in spring on Spokane’s South Hill.

“We want to offer something healthy,” says co-owner Nancy Chen. “And we saw our competition but decided the area is still not saturated.”

Other newer frozen yogurt shops in the area include Froyo Earth in Spokane Valley and Just Chillin’ Frozen Yogurt in Liberty Lake. Both opened last year.

Chen and company partner and friend Tong Li were ready to put their business backgrounds and ideas to work when they decided the popularity of frozen yogurt would be an ideal fit. They say they hope to stay competitive with an impeccable store and great customer service along with a few different menu items: Made-to-order yogurt shakes and bubble tea, a popular Asian drink typically made from tapioca milk, tea or milk of the starchy taro plant, and including tapioca pearls, small treats with a chewy texture.

Frozen yogurt with toppings is 40 cents an ounce, or yogurt without toppings is $4 for 16 ounces or $7 for 32 ounces. Bubble teas are $3.25 for 16-ounce drinks or $3.75 for 24 ounces.

Customers at Go Froyo will find themselves surrounded by a vibrant interior that includes purple and turquoise walls, tall tables with high swivel chairs and red couches for lounging, and two large-screen TVs and blue sky beach murals.

“We wanted to create a tropical island feeling for people” says Chen, whether it’s snowing or sunshine outside. And it seems to be working. Business continues to be steady with curious first-time customers and many repeat visitors, she said.

Go Froyo offers a 20 percent discount to customers with a same-day receipt from any Valley Plaza business — those stemming from Toys R Us and Walmart to Lowe’s and Kohl’s.

Click here to comment on this story »