By Sam Isaacs

Frozen yogurt is dominating the Richmond desert scene. With over six locations within five miles of the city, competition is at an all time high, and one local business is up for the challenge. Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream has been serving Carytown for over a decade and has felt the heat of recent ‘froyo’ expansions, two of which are just blocks away.

“We saw a drop in customers last summer when Sweet Frog opened, but once Yapple opened next door to them this year, it was like they canceled each other out and we saw an increase in sales,” said Heidi Krizansky, the ice cream maker at Bev’s.

She also noted the quality of ingredients as something that separates them from the chains,” Everything we use is real, I try to buy local as much as I can, and that is something you just don’t find at the other chains. All of their flavors are from additives mixed in with their product,” said Krizansky.

Some customers choose places like Sweet Frog and Yapple because of the accessability and popularity. “It is convenient and easy they are everywhere so there is always one around if you are craving some ice cream,” said Erin Keller, a customer of Sweet Frog who visits several times a month.

Employee Lauren Halley said she believes the catering and wholesale distribution services which the chains don’t offer, give Bev’s and edge in the competition.

“We sell to Crossroads and The Mill and offer baked goods. We have developed loyal customers and are a Carytown staple, and that is something the chains can’t compete with,” said Halley. “We do cookies, cakes and ice cream cakes.

Others feel that they are getting a better deal at Sweet Frog, “I like how you can control how much you are getting with both the ice cream and the toppings, just the overall customization process,” said patron Jenna Cooper.

Krizansky disagrees with the idea that Sweet Frog is a better deal, “There, you think you are getting a better price, but they get you with the toppings and you end up paying a lot for not much ice cream. Here, we don’t top our ice cream with Oreos, we flavor it with them so you get more ice cream for your money,” she said.

For Krizansky, her customer-friendly environment puts her shop ahead of its competition.

“I get to talk to my customers, get to know them and get feedback. There is no room for that in a chain. Maybe in the internet age some people proffer a fast impersonal setting but we don’t do that here,” she said.

related links:http://www.yappleyogurt.com/

http://sweetfrogyogurt.com/

 http://www.facebook.com/BevsHomemadeIceCream

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