After living in Nashville for a decade following her high school career at , Stephanie Wagner needed an excuse to return home.
While enjoying frozen yogurt with some friends, Wagner, who had grown tired of her cubicle at a Fortune 500 company, found her excuse. Wagner said she had a light bulb moment and realized that the self-serve frozen yogurt shops that had cropped up throughout Tennessee would be a great fit in Horsham.
Next came Wagner’s “market research.”
“I’d go in there and eat their yogurt,” Wagner said while giving Patch a tour of the 2,000-square-foot space that she’s hoping to open by mid-May as Simply Twisted Frozen Yogurt. “It was a new thing in Nashville. It tastes like soft-serve ice cream.”
Countless cups of frozen yogurt later, Wagner, whose background is in marketing and graphic communications, said she discovered that the shops in Tennessee were “always busy, even in the winter.”
Once she was convinced that she could bring her own variation of the growing frozen yogurt empire to Horsham, she began coaxing her dad, Michael Wagner, a concrete contractor, and her mom, Betty Wagner.
“I thought it was a joke,” he said of the initial suggestion. “How can you be in business and sell one little product?”
But, after taking them around to the yogurt shops in Tennessee, her parents became believers. In between his regular job, he’s been working to help construct the first of what the Wagner family hopes will be a string of Simply Twisted franchises. Once it opens, Betty will manage the business’s books and Stephanie will run the store.
“It’s the first of a franchise,” Stephanie Wagner said confidently. “We looked at franchising and decided we could do it ourselves.”
The biggest expense, she said, are the five frozen yogurt machines, which she expects will push the total construction cost to between $300,000 and $400,000.
Situated in the Horsham Road strip mall in a storefront that previously housed the Body Shop, the business will feature 10 of the dozens of yogurt flavors available. Wagner said vanilla, chocolate, a tart, no sugar-added and a sorbet will be mainstays and other flavors will rotate.
In addition to unique non-fat, low-fat, non-dairy, tart and no-sugar-added yogurt flavors like maple bacon donut, cake batter, watermelon, EuroTart Cranberry Hibiscus and cheesecake, Stephanie Wagner said the 30-seat store will feature more than 40 candy and cereal toppings, a cold bar with fresh fruit, cheesecake, brownies, cookie dough and syrups. At 49 cents per ounce, customers can load up with as much – or as little – yogurt and accoutrements as they like.
“You can make it as healthy or as unhealthy as you want,” she said.
But, before the first customer comes through the door, Stephanie Wagner said she’s looking to hire 15 part-time employees to help man the year-round operation. One of her cousins will be working at the store and her uncle, Nick Buerger, an electrical contractor, has been preparing the store for its yet-to-be-determined debut.
“You’ve got to help family,” Buerger said, adding that the business is a “family affair.”
Like his niece, Buerger believes in the concept and would love an excuse to try out a new trade. Eventually, he hopes to run one of the Simply Twisted Frozen Yogurt franchises.
“I’m ready to go,” Buerger said.