ONTARIO -- Frozen yogurt has returned to Ontario.
The storefront where Menchies once operated is now home to Sol Froyo, a self-serve yogurt bar and creamery.
Sol Froyo is located at 2170 Walker Lake Road in Ontario. The shop is owned by Ontario residents Mike and Melissa Moody. Their children help run the business.
The family chose the name Sol Froyo because ‘Sol’ means sun in Spanish.
“Kind of eliciting that warm feeling -- trying to bring a little bit of warmth to Ohio,” said Mike, who is originally from Arizona.
The shop operates much like its predecessor -- visitors select their own flavors, toppings and sauces, then pay by weight. The frozen treats currently cost 59 cents an ounce.
“We try to keep a large selection of toppings to meet everybody's taste,” Mike said.
Sol Froyo currently has frozen yogurt as well as a limited selection of ice cream and sorbet. Mike said the shop plans to always have an ice cream option on hand, as well as sorbet, which is dairy free. He hopes to add one flavor of low carb, no sugar keto frozen yogurt to accommodate even more customers.
Frozen yogurt is similar to ice cream, but tends to be low fat or nonfat. Frozen yogurt must have a yogurt base, while ice cream is defined by its percentage of milk fat.
Mike is a former educator who previously owned a pressure-washer business.
“I learned a lot about frozen yogurt and a lot about the machines. We researched it a lot before we decided to jump into it,” he said.
According to Mike, the demise of the Ontario Menchies was part of a mass closure that affected multiple shops across northeast Ohio. The chain was hit hard during the pandemic, when self-serve food joints were unable to operate due to health regulations.
“It wasn't closed because it wasn't profitable, it was closed because of the pandemic, right?” he said. “I thought this might be an opportunity for us to own our own business.
"I liked owning a business, running a business and being my own boss. There was always a part of me that kind of wanted to do that.”
Sol Froyo opened to the public on Sept. 5, relying on word of mouth and a boosted Facebook post for advertising.
“We had well over 100 transactions the first day, probably 200 to 300 customers,” Mike recalled.
Sherry Gatten of Mansfield stopped in with her son Friday afternoon.
“We’re excited,” she said. “This is one of our favorite things. We prefer frozen yogurt over ice cream any day. I think it tastes better. The texture’s smoother.”
Sol Froyo currently open seven days a week from noon to 9 p.m. Mike said the store may reduce its hours in the winter.