Cool treats warm up sluggish local economy

Kaimi Ahu
Kaimi Ahu
Daniel Johnston
Daniel Johnston
Casey Fujishige
Casey Fujishige

By Leland Kim - bio | email

MANOA (KHNL) - A tasty idea is catching on in Hawaii, even as the economy is slowing down. Frozen yogurt chains have enjoyed a resurgence on the mainland, and now that trend is reaching our shores.

The reason it's becoming so popular is it's healthy, relatively cheap, and really tasty.

A cool wave of tasty treats washes over Hawaii. Yogurtland is causing quite a splash since it opened over the summer.

"There's nothing like it," said Kaimi Ahu, a regular customer. "It's self serve and they have over ten flavors."

"It's like good dessert, and it's healthy and you get to create your own, however you want," said Casey Fujishige, another regular customer.

After you get your yogurt, this is where the fun begins. Tons and tons of toppings. Anything from strawberries to kiwi. So you just pile it on and enjoy.

Part of the fun is getting creative with your toppings.

"I have blueberries, strawberries, mochi balls and Azuki beans," said Ahu.

"I got pineapple and cheesecake, yogurt with cheesecake, strawberries with gummy bears, bananas," said Fujishige. "It's pretty good."

Despite a slowing economy, Yogurtland's business is booming.

"So we knew, being from Hawaii, if we brought it here, the weather, the heat, it would be a success," said Daniel Johnston, whose family brought the franchise over from Orange County, California. "We didn't know how big of a success it would be."

Yogurtland's 16 flavors are popular with college kids, and kids of all ages, because it's tasty and cheap.

"Our pricing is good so if you're on a real tight budget, you can allow yourself to have a cup of yogurt with some fruits for two, three bucks," said Johnson.

Frozen yogurt has fewer calories than ice cream, so it's catching on as a healthy treat.

"Come try it," said Ahu. "Definitely, yeah."

A red hot business during a cool economy.

Besides Yogurtland, there are two other frozen yogurt chains starting up in Hawaii. They're hoping these tasty treats become as popular as shave ice.