"We love blue skies and we love temperatures 70 degrees and above and so we've had plenty of those. The community has been very responsive to the product and the concept, so we're real pleased with it," said Randy Henderson, City Swirl co-owner. "It looks like people come out as the weather gets warmer so we're very excited about going into our first spring, summer."
On the back of a national trend, Cartersville's first frozen yogurt shop, The Sweet Spot, opened its doors in September followed soon after by City Swirl in November. A third shop, TCBY, will join the ranks this month with a grand opening slated for April 14.
Each of the frozen yogurt restaurants in and coming to Cartersville operate on a self-serve business model. Typically, about 10 flavors of frozen yogurt are available from which customers choose and serve themselves before loading their selection down with some 30 to 40 toppings, including candy, nuts and fresh fruit. Each customer's creation is then weighed and priced by the ounce.
Jumping into the frozen yogurt market this year just as the temperature begins to rise, Bartow native Andy Womack chose to go with market-leader TCBY, a national franchise, which once had a storefront in Cartersville. Womack began looking for opportunities after selling his previous business 10 years ago.
"Over the last few years, I've been doing other stuff, but I saw a need. I had always liked TCBY and knew that we had a store here years ago. One thing led to another and I just started checking into it," Womack said. "I had continuing discussions with them over the course of several months and it evolved into me getting a store. Much of that time was spent finding a location -- I knew I wanted it to be in Cartersville, I was searching for a good location, and once I found one, I went further with TCBY on a corporate level to get the franchise secured."
For The Sweet Spot, business has continued steadily and owner Kasey Carpenter has big plans for future endeavors in Cartersville. In addition to the Cartersville store, Carpenter owns two other Sweet Spot locations and two restaurants serving Southern-style food under the name of Oakwood Cafe. Oakwood Cafe already has begun offering catering throughout Bartow County and is looking to open a Cartersville location in the near future.
While The Sweet Spot and other frozen yogurt eateries look forward to a busy summer, local schools were out for spring break this week giving shops an early taste of coming months.
"It's been pretty good the last couple of weeks really starting about the middle of March with the weather. We've had a real nice week this week with spring break even though a lot of people are out of town. With the weather, the patio is a great place to come eat yogurt. This is the time of year people really start enjoying it," Carpenter said.
As the third entry to the frozen yogurt market enters Cartersville, shop owners accept the competition with optimism taking confidence in their product, service and location.
"We're going to continue to do the things that we feel we do best. We want to continue to offer a high-quality product in a very family-friendly environment," Henderson said. "Sometimes people like restaurant one, sometimes they like restaurant two but they have choices, and we're just going to continue to do the best that we can."
Carpenter, too, admits the shared market will be challenging but feels Cartersville will be able to support all three -- even if it's not an ideal situation for the proprietors.
"I think it will be a test," Carpenter said. "We'll just see how it goes. I think there is enough business for everybody. I'm sure we'd all like to be the only one in town but sometimes it doesn't work out that way."
If you go:
* City Swirl: 612 E. Main St., Cartersville -- near Kohl's.
* The Sweet Spot: 148 W. Main St., Suite 101, Cartersville -- in Integrity Plaza beneath the lofts.
* TCBY: 807-B West Ave., Cartersville -- next to Subway.