VINTON–Bloop Frozen Yogurt has opened its new store at Lake Drive Plaza in Vinton.
Charlie Fulford owns the franchise for the new business, which originated in Lynchburg, Virginia. Bloop operates eight stores in Virginia and Michigan. The first one opened in 2011. The closest to Vinton is on Franklin Road at Hunting Hills Station in Roanoke. There are also bloop stores in the Lynchburg area, Charlottesville, and Winchester.
Fulford lives in the Hardy area and chose the Vinton site for bloop because of the booming business at Lake Drive Plaza, which is home to some of the busiest locations in the Roanoke Valley for branches of Kroger, Subway, Big Lots, and Bojangles’.
“Vinton doesn’t have anything like bloop,” said Fulford. “The demographics within a three mile area are very strong. This is a highly traveled area.”
Fulford was intrigued by the idea of owning a franchise. He and his wife were attracted to bloop in particular because of the parent company Prototype Advertising, which has a reputation for excellent advertising and marketing strategies, as well as a devotion to family values and an emphasis on charitable giving.
Fulford plans to eventually hire between eight and twelve employees for the Vinton store, which will be open from 11:00 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday from 12 noon until 9:00 p.m. during the colder months. Once the weather warms up, hours will be extended on Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 10 p.m.
The “bloop” named was actually settled upon based on a marketing survey as the most popular with children from a list of choices.
The Vinton bloop will feature over 20 flavors dispensed from seven self-serve machines. Five serve yogurt and two offer soft serve ice cream. Each machine dispenses two flavors, which can be mixed to make a third. The store will also offer Greek yogurt. The flavors will depend upon what customers like best.
“Different locations tend to have different favorites,” said Fulford. “We’ll rotate the flavors according to what Vinton likes best.”
Flavors at other bloop locations vary from the traditional chocolate and vanilla favorites to White Chocolate Mousse, Strawberry Sensation, Birthday Cake Batter, and Espresso. Bloop offers an assortment of around 48 different toppings for the yogurt and ice cream dishes, from candies to fresh fruit in season.
The frozen desserts are sold by weight by the ounce—as little or as much as the customer wants. There will be no-fat, low-fat, reduced fat, and no sugar added varieties available. Bloop yogurt is certified to contain live and active cultures and natural ingredients.
Bloop has moved into the former H & R Block location next door to Kroger, which many years ago was the Family Reunion restaurant. It occupies a space of just under 2,000 square feet. In order for bloop to move in, the space has been completely renovated. Innovative lighting has been installed, including motion activated lights in the floor.
Bloop also believes in going green by recycling almost everything: cups, spoons, and napkins.
While different bloop franchises may offer distinct flavors depending upon their customers’ tastes, one thing all bloop stores have in common is their involvement in the non-profit “Charity: Water” initiative. Every cup of bloop yogurt goes toward providing a clean cup of drinking water for someone in a third world country.
According to their website www.bloopfrozenyogurt.com , “A Cup 4 A Cup mission is a fundraiser that aims for each bloop store to donate enough money each year to buy one well to provide water around the world in places where disease can be prevented by simply having clean safe water to drink.”