Self-Serve Yogurt Shop Coming Soon to Downtown Rochester
You'll pay by the ounce at Sweet Island Yogurt on Main Street.
One calls himself a "hard-core ice cream guy."
The other said he has always had a soft spot for soft serve.
Now these long-time friends and new business partners, Bill Brandreth and Larry Winkelmann, are opening a place where their love of the frozen treat can meet.
Tropical fun, self-serve yogurt
The premise of Sweet Island Yogurt is simple.
There will be six soft-serve yogurt machines, each with two flavors for a total of 12 yogurt flavors to chose from. There will also be slushie machines.
And then there are the toppings — 50 of them.
"You can make your yogurt as healthy, or as unhealthy, as you like," Winkelmann said.
The customers create their own frozen delights then set the treats on a scale to pay by the ounce.
Bottled water and yogurt-to-go will also be available for purchase.
There will be tables inside and eventually outside, too.
But mainly there will be fun.
"The name says it all," Brandreth said. "We want this to be a fun place to go, with music, tropical decor, flat screen TV."
Did you say bacon?
Winkelmann and Brandreth met at church but their seven-year friendship was cemented over a motorcycle trip to Tennessee. It was 18 months ago when the idea for Sweet Island Yogurt was hatched.
To research the business they began touring self-serve soft yogurt places.
"We had to take a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, because they have five self-serve yogurt places in a four-block area!" Brandreth said.
They ate a fair share of yogurt along the way.
"We love the product," Winkelmann said. "The machines are so much better than they used to be."
While the yogurt is nonfat, gluten-free and low cholesterol, the partners say it's still packed with flavor.
Winkelmann's favorite flavors are peanut butter and espresso while Brandreth goes for the classic vanilla with hot fudge, coconuts and nuts.
"There's a huge push for bacon-flavored soft serve," Winkelmann said, "Whether we'll offer it or not, I don't know."
Green and local
The location, the former Beadz and Bagz location at 402 Main, is being completely gutted and renovated.
"We've gone through three ceilings to get to the original," Winkelmann said.
The renovation will also accommodate both a front and a back entrance.
"It's a ton of work but we have it lined up with a general contractor," Brandreth said. "We hope to open in six weeks."
It is a goal of Brandreth and Winkelmann to have Sweet Island Yogurt as green as possible — from the bamboo floor to the compost-able cups.
Another goal is to keep it local with almost everything being provided by Michigan businesses.
"Everything is coming from Michigan-based companies," Winkelmann said "Except the yogurt machines, which we couldn't find offered locally."
Behind every successful man ...
Winkelmann, a Rochester Hills resident, and Brandreth, from Clarkston, are excited to be a part of Main Street.
"We love it, we're coming in at the perfect time," Winkelmann said.
Both gave high praise to the Rochester Downtown Development Authority for their help and "the events they bring to the table."
But, according to the business partners, it all really comes down to two women: Debra and Kathy.
"Our wives!" Brandreth said. "Without them, none of this happens."