Sunday, May 22, 2011

Steampunk and Frozen Yogurt in Gwinnett County

I'd had plans to visit the Boiler Room, a steampunk-themed shop opening in Duluth, yesterday, but covering a health fair for my newspaper and making sausage-cheese bread for my potluck took up most of the day.

So I decided to check it out today.  To make things cooler, it turns out my friend David Carswell from the Boy Scouts had opened a new business, Five Spot Yogurt, in Snellville.  I figured I'd hit the Boiler Room first and then Five Spot afterward, since Duluth is halfway to Snellville anyway.

Unfortunately, the Boiler Room's weekend hours were to be determined--they were closed.  Maybe I'll head over there sometime later, but it's a fair drive and the hours are such that going before or after work is going to be a problem.

However, I found David's shop was a happening place.  When I got there, there was a big crowd at the door.  Since the local fire inspector hadn't checked out the sprinkler system, customers weren't allowed in and were being served outside.  However, being the media, I guess I'm not a customer, and soon we were sitting in some nice leather chairs along the wall.

David and I were both Eagle Scouts in BSA Troop 1011 in Marietta, but I hadn't really kept up with him even though we both attended the University of Georgia.  He graduated ahead of me and ran an AT&T store in Watkinsville with a friend.  In 2008, he became a franchisee for Little Caesars and with a business partner owned four stores.  The two of them parted company, with David inheriting the Little Caesars in Alpharetta and Duluth.  It was after this that he went into the frozen yogurt business.

"I saw a need for a good frozen yogurt shop in Snellville," he said.

He started working on it in September 2010.  He found a location and started working on the design.  Jessica Mullis from UGA helped create the logo, while another friend, Nicole Morgan, helped design and furnish the interior.  He purchased the equipment and signed the lease.

There are a lot of these weigh-your-own-frozen-yogurt places these day, so I asked him what the difference between Five Spot and the other places were.  David explained that on Monday through Thursday, the prices are capped at $5.00 regardless of the weight.  There are also comfortable leather chairs.

"We offer free WiFi," he said.

He said his yogurt was better-quality than many other yogurt places since it's liquid-based.

"It's not grainy like the other ones," he said.  "It's very smooth texture."

I had some chocolate/vanilla swirl frozen yogurt--my standard choice for frozen-yogurt places, along with vanilla mixed with Oreos or chocolate-chip cookie dough--after I finished speaking with him.  David was right--none of the powdery bits that I've noticed at Yogli Mogli to be found here.

There're 16 flavors and over 40 toppings.  David said he hadn't introduced new flavors yet, but he did intend to provide some later.  For example, there'd be jelly-flavored frozen yogurt to go with the peanut-butter-flavored yogurt already there.

Although customers should be able to go inside by May 23, there's still work to be done on the interiors.  David plans to put photographs on the walls, along with more dot-patterns.  I asked if he intended for a giant mural of Optimus Prime fighting Megatron (like in Scrubs) and he said no.  Drat.  The big empty wall across from the cash registers would be a perfect spot for a very large piece of art, but it's his shop and his decision.

I don't think I'll be coming out there very often, since it's a 40-minute drive from where I live.  However, I figured those who live in Gwinnett County might be interested in checking it out.  The yogurt is very good and the seating is comfortable, plus that $5 cap strikes me as something big yogurt-eaters would appreciate.  It's in the same general shopping center as the Borders and Carmike Cinemas are along Scenic Highway, but it's at the far end of the development near the Panera Bread.

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