By SCOTT AUST
Garden City's new Peachwave Frozen Yogurt shop hasn't been open very long, but owner Holli Horyna says it's already been drawing a steady flow of customers.
"We do have a lunch crowd. For some people, this is their lunch," she said. "We have kids come in after school who sit and do their homework. And that's the kind of atmosphere we're looking for. We don't want this to be a hurry-up type place. If you want to sit down and hang out, we're okay with that. That's why we have the couches," she said.
Located at 1110 N. Campus Dr., Peachwave offers a different kind of service. Instead of giving your order at a counter, the customer takes a bowl and chooses among 18 different yogurt flavors at nine self-serve machines.
After pouring the yogurt, the customer then must decide among 40 different toppings, such as mini-brownies and sprinkles, as well as a variety of fresh fruit and granola. The price paid depends on how much the concoction weighs.
"A misconception is that it's expensive. Well, it's as expensive as you make it. You're in charge of the price," she said. "I do have people in Liberal who know how to get that cup at $2.50, or $3. The part that gets the kids is the toppings. They'll throw on 50 brownie bites."
Peachwave also makes fresh waffle cones daily, offers soft drinks and tea, and in the winter plans to offer hot chocolate and coffee.
Peachwave, an Oklahoma City, Okla.-based company, has 77 stores including the new one in Garden City, and a store in Liberal also owned by Horyna. Company-wide, there are 60 different yogurt flavors available, which creates an opportunity for a lot of changing flavors at their stores.
Horyna said all the store's yogurt flavors are low fat or non-fat. They also offer two, no added sugar flavors, and try to offer at least one lactose-free flavor though the only two choices in the company are pineapple and orange.
"Some of the staples are chocolate and vanilla. Cheesecake just never goes away, we make it so often.
Our fruit flavors are very true to the fruit. They are powerful, flavorful," she said.
Horyna said a former neighbor opened three Peachwave franchises in Florida and thought the company would do well in southwest Kansas. She conducted a little market research herself by talking to people at a Peachwave store in Wichita to find out what customers liked about their products. Most said Peachwave's flavor and texture was better than other shops, Horyna said.
Currently, she and her husband, Brett, live in Liberal but are very familiar with Garden City, having lived here for about five years about 15 years ago. She opened a Peachwave in Liberal in February, and settled on opening another in Garden City because the Liberal store was drawing a lot of Garden Citians.
"We knew it was a popular brand, and Garden City has a lot of the same demographics. You've got a community college, and of course, a bigger population," she said. "Our store in Liberal is not quite this big. We don't have a party room. We have eight machines there, while we have nine machines here, so that means we'll have 18 possible flavors out at a time."
Both stores have similar flavors. They will also offer special flavors at certain times of year, such as pumpkin around Thanksgiving and peppermint and egg nog around Christmas.
Nutritional information is available at peachtreeyogurt.com. Most flavors range between 60 and 120 calories per serving, and the vast majority are no fat and single digit calories from fat.
"I hear it all the time, people think they're breaking their diet. You're really not. It's not bad for you — depending on what toppings you put on. But for me, I get cheesecake and put granola on it and that's it. That's my favorite," she said.
Horyna's husband, Brett, is a pharmacist and they own El Kan Pharmacy in Liberal. They have three daughters, Katie, 11; Bree, 9; and Devyn, 1. Horyna also owns the Flower Basket, a flower shop, and a home health store in Liberal. Up until this past May, Horyna was also a sixth grade teacher and instructional coach for 15 years until quitting to devote more time to her businesses.
The Garden City Peachwave is located on Campus Drive just north of the Kansas Avenue intersection. It occupies the north side of the same building where a new Papa Murphy's Pizza will be opening.
Peachwave's hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.