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Chilling in Harlem

by  Celeste Davie on December 26, 2011
Chilling in Harlem

A critical part of opening a business has to do with location, location, location. A frozen yogurt store in an urban area might not be the most traditional place. However, with the lack of healthy options in their neighborhood, Chill Berry is exactly what Harlem was missing. "We noticed there wasn't a frozen yogurt store in Harlem, so we decided to open up one," said Tiffany Martin. As popular frozen yogurt stores are popping up all across America, Chill Berry is the first black owned stand-alone, self-service frozen yogurt store that is located in Harlem between West 130th and 131st streets.

The Martins live and work in Harlem with their three children. A Harlem native, Martin has been working as a public school psychologist. Her husband, Jason Martin is an entrepreneur and has worked in the music and printing business. After deciding that they wanted to open a frozen yogurt shop, the couple needed capital to launch their business. In May 2011, after obtaining a loan from Union Settlement Federal Credit Union and investing two-thirds of their own money from their savings, the Martins opened Chill Berry in an up and coming neighborhood.

Chill Berry has a colorful upscale décor that would appeal to any downtown faddish taste. When patrons come in the store, they are amazed at the trendy friendly fro-yo atmosphere. The frozen yogurt pumps line the wall, allowing its customers to self serve. This concept is a new spin on a way to make frozen yogurt accessible to customers. You can have as much or as little as your heart desires, you're in control of your portions. You pay by weight not by cup size. "We wanted to make our frozen yogurt affordable for everyone," Martin said.

Unlike other frozen yogurt establishments, Chill Berry is almost indistinguishable from ice cream. It looks and taste like ice cream. Even the most sophisticated of palates would be hard pressed to tell the difference. Selecting a flavor off Chill Berry's menu might be complex. You might need your thinking cap to choose between the many flavors like strawberry, banana, mango, raspberry, pomegranate, pecan pralines, cake batter, red velvet, vanilla, and Dutch chocolate.

Not only are you bombarded with the fabulous frozen yogurt aromas, but the variety of toppings are mind boggling. Chill Berry offers every topping under the sun; fresh fruits, assortments of nuts, tantalizing candies, and even some of your favorite Saturday morning cereals. Whatever masterpiece you decide to create, once you start eating Chill Berry's frozen yogurt, it will be gone in a New York minute!

The best part of Chill Berry frozen yogurt is that it's a healthy dessert alternative. Also, for the people who are lactose intolerant, yogurt contains enzymes that assist in breaking down dairy making it easy to ingest. In efforts to make the Harlem community aware of healthier ways to eat, Chill Berry has joined the Let's Move initiative. This program was developed by First Lady Michelle Obama to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity.

Chill Berry offers educational classes for everyone. "I want to show people there are ways to eat healthy," said Martin. Children come to Chill Berry on school trips and learn about caloric values and modifying food groups to promote healthier eating habits.

The Martins have already turned Chill Berry into a franchise. In the near future, they are planning to expand their business with a second store in Harlem.

For more information about flavors, location and times of operation, visit http://chillberryfrozenyogurt.com.

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Celeste Davie

Celeste Davie

Celeste Davie is a traveler, freelance writer, marathon runner, foodie, and photography enthusiast who has traveled throughout the United States, the Caribbean and Mexico. full bio

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