Both the Biddeford sweetFrog premium frozen yogurt and the Scarborough sweetFrog shop have closed while a new franchise operator can be found. ED PIERCE/Journal Tribune

BIDDEFORD — Two popular premium frozen yogurt shops in Biddeford and Scarborough are closed temporarily as its parent company searches for a new franchisee to take over operations.

The Biddeford and Scarborough locations of sweetFrog were surrendered by franchisee Angela Houle on Dec. 17 and remain closed until further notice, a spokesperson for corporate owner Kahala Brands said Friday.

Houle had opened the Biddeford sweetFrog location at 457 Alfred St. in May 2017 and took over the sweetFrog in the Scarborough Gallery at 700 Gallery Blvd. in Scarborough in April 2018. The Biddeford shop was new in 2017, however, the Scarborough site opened in 2014 and closed several times while transferred to new franchise operators.

At each sweetFrog shop, customers create their own soft-serve frozen yogurt with numerous flavors and toppings from which to choose. Both the Biddeford and Scarborough shops feature interiors distinctively painted pink and green with eight frozen yogurt machines, toppings bars and Sweet Frog merchandise, much of which is focused on Sweet Frog’s mascots “Scoop” and “Cookie.”

Five frozen yogurt categories sold by sweetFrog feature Nonfat, Low Fat, Supreme, No Sugar Added, and Sorbet in a variety of flavors such as mountain blackberry, pecan praline, toasted marshmallow, fudge brownie batter and caramel sea salt. Toppings range from gummy bears to numerous fresh fruits, rainbow sprinkles and cheesecake cookies. Prices are determined by the weight of the selection.

The chain was founded in Richmond, Virginia, in 2009 by Derek Cha and grew rapidly to include locations in 27 states and the Dominican Republic. Cha sold the company to Boxwood Capital Partners, LLC in 2015.

Canadian restaurant investors MTY Food Group purchased all 324 U.S. locations of sweetFrog for $35 million in September and 254 locations of the chain, including shops in Biddeford and Scarborough are franchise-operated. Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Kahala Brands is the U.S. subsidiary of MTY Food Group and also manages franchises of Blimpie Subs, Cold Stone Creamery, Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Grill, TacoTime, Planet Smoothie, Great Steak, Thai Express and The Counter custom burgers.

In 2017, sweetFrog generated $92 million in sales across the U.S.

The Kahala Brands spokesperson said that three other sweetFrog shops in Bangor, Belfast and Waterville remain open and that the Biddeford and Scarborough locations are only closed temporarily until a new franchise operator can be found.

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 or by email at [email protected] Journal Tribune Staff Write Grace Laverriere contributed to this article.

 

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