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Wednesday, March 21 News

Peachwave serving up frozen yogurt, camaraderie

It looks like New Canaan not only has a new spot for frozen yogurt, but younger teens may also have found a good place to hang out.

Peachwave has opened a franchise downtown at 11 Forest St. and already has 80 in operation, mostly throughout the United States.

The New Canaan store is the ninth franchise for the company in the area; it operates five in Westchester County, N.Y., and has stores in Norwalk, Westport and Wilton.

Based on the busy customer response Saturday, April 26, when the store hosted its official opening, this may likely prove to be a popular spot.

"It's great having such a warm welcome by the community," Ryan Ventura, district manager, said. "I have been very encouraged by the response of New Canaan."

He added, "Peachwave is not simply about the product. I'll be the first to admit that there are several options in every town when it comes to dessert. What we want to be known for is the relational customer service and atmosphere one will experience.

"We do not operate with a `chain' mentality. We operate as a local store because that is what we are. We employ local people, invest in local events and groups, and enjoy the highs and lows that we go through as a community."

Thus far, response is positive, and not only for the nice atmosphere.

"I like how the frozen yogurt tastes," Cooper Dinan, 9, of New Canaan, said.

His friend, Henry Garrity, 9, of New Canaan, concurred. "They have so many different flavors. ... I love the cotton candy and the cookies 'n' cream," he said.

In fact, Peachwave offers more than 70 different flavors, though there are only 16 at any one time. They are as diverse as cherry limeade, gingerbread, red velvet cake and tiramisu, as well as a range of traditional flavors. The store also offers sugar-free options.

"I get the flavor that has no sugar in it," Niles Howard, of New Canaan, who spoke favorably of the new store, said. "It seems pretty healthy."

Along with the yogurt itself, customers were enjoying the size and design of the new place, which had a soft opening the week before, but brought out balloons and a clown Saturday to really kick-start the store.

"We're really trying to weave ourselves into the community," Heather Lewis, community outreach director, said. "We're hoping to do events and fundraisers and things like that, to give back to the community where we can."

Others were also smitten with the physical design of the new store.

"The color scheme is very attractive," said Shanhui Abhiraman, of New Canaan, who also liked the funky chairs at the tables in front.

The back of the store has a large play area, with beanbags and a television, where kids are encouraged to hang out.

"I like how there's

a lot of space in the back," said Kendall Webb, 14, of New Canaan, who was lounging on cushions with her friends, Liz Gehnrich and Kimberly Ferm.

"It's awesome," said Mary Grace Higbie, an employee who grew up just down the street in New Canaan. "I'm loving it.

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"I wish I'd had a place like this when I was a kid. There's no place for 12-, 13-, 14-year-olds to go anymore. Here it's a hangout and no one's bothering them."

"The students have begun to understand that we really do want them to hang out in our store," Ventura said. "This is the place where friendships and family relationships can develop."

For information, call 203-594-9137 or visit www.peachwavefroyo.com.