By Carlee Frank
In the mid-2000s, the frozen yogurt business boomed, and by 2014, the number of froyo shops more than doubled nationwide. Springville’s very own Cindy Lou’s was among the ranks as one of the first frozen yogurt shops in Western New York.
Opened in 2012, Cindy Lou’s now has a new location at 500 South Cascade Drive. Cindy Lou’s offers more than 10 frozen yogurt flavors, over 35 toppings and a family friendly environment. So, if you have a hankering for frozen yogurt, you don’t have to travel very far.
“We could’ve gone anywhere, but we stayed in Springville because we love Springville,” said John Santonocito, owner of Cindy Lou’s.
John and his wife and co-owner, Cindy Santonocito, said their favorite part about owning a business are the friendships they have formed with customers and other local business owners, many of whom are regulars to the shop. The Santonocitos said some customers bring in birthday presents and decorations, like the wood carving currently above the cash register.
However, with or without presents, the Santonocitos said they love to give to the community. Cindy Lou’s has sponsored baseball fields, supplied gift cards for Chaffee Hospital basket raffles, supported the high school post prom and much more. They even give children ages 10 and younger a free yogurt on their birthday.
“We’ve seen some pretty outrageous candy filled bowls of yogurt,” said Cindy.
With so many options, John and Cindy said it’s hard not to go overboard on your first bowl. There are toppings such as popping bobba in kiwi, passion fruit and strawberry flavors, cookie dough bites, nerds and fresh seasonal fruit.
The Santonocitos have also begun testing out Italian gelato. The current flavor is candy crunch, but there are more to come.
“The gelato has so far been a hit – people have loved it,” said Cindy.
One of John’s many jobs is figuring out which flavors combine well for the twist –the center lever which spirals two yogurts together. He said you can create a yogurt just like tiramisu if you combine white chocolate mouse and espresso.
No matter your flavor preference, you will be able to take your bowl out to the front porch rocking chairs or to the tables out back. There are flowers, rustic decorations and even a bike path.
“You could actually hop on your bike in town, have a safe ride and ride right up to Cindy Lou’s,” said John.
Their new location, said John and Cindy, is due to their friendship with the owners of Root 39 Hair Salon. They used to own the Style Club in the plaza and their hair stylists would always tell customers the yogurt of the day and encourage them to visit Cindy Lou’s after their hair appointment. When they offered Cindy Lou’s a spot in their new building on South Cascade Drive, John and Cindy said they were more than happy to agree.
Since the move on July 31, clientele has been slowly coming back. Not too surprisingly, the Cindy Lou’s customer base is of all ages. A lot of elderly people frequent the shop, so when snow birds come back for the summer, business booms.
However, many children come too. In their opening year, Cindy photographed every child having their first bowl of frozen yogurt.
“It was amazing to watch from when we opened and then five years later these kids on the wall would come in all grown up,” said Cindy.
While John works another full-time job in addition to Cindy Lou’s and Cindy works at the shop seven days a week, they both said it is well worth it. They also employ a group of high school students who they treat like their own children.
When John and Cindy are working in the shop, they always ask customers about their experience and if they like their yogurt.
“We even sit down and eat yogurt with some of the customers,” said Cindy.
So, if you do indeed have a hankering for frozen yogurt, be sure to visit Cindy Lou’s. They are open Tuesday through Sunday 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information, visit their website or Facebook page