By Kayla Lafi
Two kids race to the front door and rush inside the shop with wide smiles stretching from ear to ear. Their mother follows closely, telling them to grab a cup and fill it to the brim with frozen yogurt — every kid’s dream. With over 15 flavors to choose from and the option to mix two flavors together, it’s impossible to choose just one. So they mix and match their favorites flavors before heading over to the toppings bar.
The choices are seemingly endless, with over 50 toppings available, including fruit, candy, chocolate and even sprinkles. The kids top off their yogurt and head over to the register, where the owner comes over to greet the family. When they leave, the kids are laughing and bursting with excitement, all because they just made their very own frozen yogurt treat at the new Redberry in Campus Town.
The frozen yogurt and smoothie bar recently opened in Campus Town, which will transform into a bustling town center for the College and Ewing Township in the coming months.
For now, Redberry is one of the only open businesses in the area. Although the weather is getting colder and the prime season for frozen yogurt is long over, Redberry is thriving. The small business is packed from 8 p.m. to midnight most nights of the week, though it opens at 11 a.m.
“I think it’s exciting that Redberry opened up because it’s one of the first chains and restaurants to open (in Campus Town). It’s really hyping everyone up,” junior communication studies major Kaley Stockhaus said. “The selections are great. My favorite flavor I think is dark chocolate. I got it both times. It’s really good.”
Redberry is a family-owned and operated business with three locations, two of which are located in Bucks County, Pa., and Plainsboro, N.J. The Plainsboro location is privately owned by an outside party.
“My wife is from Ewing, so we were excited to open a store here,” Redberry owner Art Havier said. “Campus Town is nice (and) clean, what’s not to like? We are the first ones to be here but with all the upcoming shops, it will bring more of the community out here. Overall, it’s a win-win situation for everybody.”
Since it opened last month, Redberry has held a fundraiser almost every night for the College’s various student organizations, as well as Ewing Township’s public schools.
“We’re happily inundated with fundraisers,” Havier said. “We have one almost every day, without any effort on our part. We get just phone calls all the time for fundraisers, and we’re happy to do each and every one of them.”
This is not the first business venture for Havier, who has been in the restaurant and food industry for over 30 years.
“There was a time about two and a half years ago where I wanted to expand for my family and get another store,” Havier said. “I knew there was an opportunity going on here. I knew it was the right opportunity to be on a college campus and it seemed like the right product to be on a college campus. It was the right timing for myself and for the people I am leasing from that it just worked out.”
Redberry is family-friendly and open to the entire Ewing community. However, Havier says he likes to keep the college student first and foremost in mind. The Campus Town Redberry is the only location with a smoothie bar. The names of the smoothies are witty and daring from “Freshman 15” to “Walk of Shame.” Even the sizes of the smoothies have a creative spin to them, being tagged as either a Minor or a Major size.
There is something for everyone — from waffle cones to low-calorie smoothies to root beer floats. Redberry, for lack of better words, has it all.
“There was a lot of planning when I was going to open up this shop,” Havier said. “This is a very unique type of store for us. Most frozen yogurt shops are not open until 1 a.m., but we are in a college campus. That’s what we need to do. We are really catering to the kids.”
With the student in mind, there are USB ports and lounge seating scattered throughout the restaurant. There is also a television that usually plays MTVU, but students can suggest to watch sport games and various other programs. With plenty of chairs and tables available, Redberry is a good spot for students to get together with friends or do some studying.
Redberry has embraced the College culture and proudly placed a stuffed lion on a high shelf to show their support to the College’s mascot, Roscoe. Pictures of students are hung on the wall and an on-going photo reel shows students and community members enjoying the wide variety of frozen yogurt available.
In an anecdote of the wittingly named Pixel boba balls, Havier shared, “We were walking around campus, my son and I. We saw these big balls on campus, and we were like ‘what is that?’ and one of the students said ‘well that’s a pixel.’”
After the student explained the history behind the College’s pixels, Havier and his son decided to incorporate them into the new Redberry branch.
“We had the boba balls that we have in our other stores, but we were like ‘oh yeah, we got to call them pixels’ just to be apart of what’s going on here,” Havier said.
When planning to open the store in Campus Town, Havier asked the College about hiring student employees. He received over 100 applications from students and wanted to hire a large number of them. Currently, Redberry has 24 employees, with 15 being college students. He also hired high schoolers and other members of the local Ewing community.
“It’s very family oriented and I like that,” said sophomore business management major and Redberry employee Stephanie Agnes. “Other families come in here too, not just students. It’s a good atmosphere.”