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U-Crave froyo shop opens just in time for summer

WHEATON – Northern Wheaton residents hoping for something sweet and cold to stave off the hot summer will no longer have to travel across the tracks to get their fix.

Instead, the recently opened U-Crave Frozen Yogurt shop aims to give people in the area a healthy option when they want a treat. Pictures of stylish penguins with headphones, LED lights, music, couches and a “yehti wall” mural offers a fun environment for froyo.

“We wanted to create a place to be open and friendly,” said Co-Owner Chris Singer of Batavia. “A place not just to get frozen yogurt, but also a place to have an experience, a place you can hang out.”

Chris, who owns the Subway franchise on Gary Avenue in Wheaton, opened the new venture with his son, Jason, Saturday. He said his family was looking to use their experience as the owners of a branded restaurant and as health-conscious food providers and consumers to open a new place. Frozen yogurt was “a natural fit.”

After looking into franchise options, Chris and Jason said they decided to start their own business. But that didn’t mean they wouldn’t learn from their Subway experience.

“We decided it couldn’t be any old mom and pop place,” Chris said. “We wanted to build it professionally.”

That included hiring professional artists to decorate and contracting a froyo provider in Arkansas.

“We wanted to design a product that is the same and stable,” Chris said. “A premium product that people can count on to be consistent. It’s a smarter way to build a brand.”

Chris said the professionalism, location and, of course, flavor played a big part in the fact that more than 225 people came to the grand opening to try their 16 different flavors and various smoothies.

“We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response,” he said. “We look like a major established player, but we are still a bit of a mom and pop place.”

Or, in the case of U-Crave, a dad and son place. Chris said Jason has worked for him for years at Subway, including the past three as manager, and complements what he brings to the table.

“I am more of a number cruncher and design guy. He’s all about customer service,” Chris said. “We argue sometimes, but we have both worked alongside each other long enough that we know what needs to be talked about and how to talk about it. It keeps the family closer together.”

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