People want choices. They want to control how much, and in what form. This has never been more evident than in the world of frozen yogurt.
Self-serve is the way to go, and in comes 16 Handles. The New York-based chain has opened its latest location in Plainview in the Morton Village Shopping Center, where Baskin Robbins once was. It's the latest entry in what's quickly becoming a crowded 'do it yourself' frozen yogurt market in town, joining , and .
16 Handles also has locations in Jericho and Port Washington, all owned by Scott Silverman. Patch sat down with his district manager, Jim Pousont, to talk about 16 Handles, where they've been, and where they're headed as they set up shop in Plainview.
Q. Tell us a bit about the 16 Handles chain and its local history?
A. It started in 2008. The inventor, Solomon Choi, grew up with Baskin Robbins. He loved the fact they always had a lot of variety, a lot of flavors, and that's where he got his vision for 16 Handles - always having 16 flavors that rotate to keep it fresh. Always have fresh fruit cut, and some decadent [toppings] for the kids. We have something for everybody: sugar free flavors, gluten-free flavors, sorbet if you're allergic to milk.
Q. How has business been so far?
A. A slow start but getting better every day. People are starting to realize we're here and we have a lot of coupons and marketing. Our 'grand opening' is on Sunday March 18, when we really invite the world to come check us out.
Q. Why was the decision made to open a location in Plainview?
A. It's a great area, and whenever you talk Plainview with people, Morton Village seems to be the one that everyone knows where it is. There is a lot of competition here, but if you have a great brand and a lot of product, hopefully you can be the one that outlasts.
Parking is a little tough but the reality is that brings people in. At least you know the shopping center's full.
Q. With all the other self-serve yogurt shops in town, how will 16 Handles differentiate itself to do just that?
A. The fresh cutting of fruit every day, the fact that we have over 50 toppings, there really is a choice and variety for everybody. It's a competitive edge for us.
Q. What is the future for this type of business? Where do you see 16 Handles headed?
A. Next for us are 'Whip-ups', like a blended version of your yogurt, spoonable, where you get all your flavors and toppings blended together. To be different we just didn't want to have smoothies, we wanted something unique to our brand.
We will have a 'limited time topping' offer starting in a month and a half. We have some flavors that are being reformulated and constructed just for 16 Handles. We actually hired a chef [to make the topping] that will be unique to our brand.