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Frozen yogurt bar opens in Orange City

By Renae B. Vander Schaaf

Date Modified: 11/21/2012 1:07 PM

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de zoete winkel

719 8th Street SE

Orange City, Iowa

Hours: Monday-Thursday 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m.-11 p.m. Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sunday, Noon to 10 p.m.

Telephone: (712) 707-5775

ORANGE CITY, Iowa — Neel and Melissa Johnsen have been talking about opening a frozen yogurt bar for a couple years. Their home work to get ready for the new enterprise involved visiting different businesses that featured the refreshing, tangy dessert.

The Johnsens found the right spot in Holland Plaza when OC Physical Therapy moved to a larger place.

"Frozen yogurt bars are quite common in California," said Neel Johnsen. "The comment has been that Orange City needed one."

de zoete winkel — Dutch for "The Sweet Shop" opened its doors for business Sept. 24, 2012.

Yogurt appeals to people for many reasons. Health-conscience consumers like it for the probiotics — live and active cultures that frozen yogurt contains. Others for the zingy taste and the many flavors that are available, said Melissa.

There are so many options: Lowfat, nonfat, nondairy, no sugar added and gluten free. Helpful nutrition statements are posted by each flavor.

The self-serve bar has 12 flavors; but it is possible to combine flavors to come up with other concoctions. Chocolate, strawberry and vanilla are always available.

Ooey Goey Cinnamon Bun tastes just as the name implies. Sea Salt Carmel Pretzel tastes like a pretzel. Imagine Blue Daiquiri Sorbet, Dreamy Dark Chocolate, and Pomegrante Energy/Vitamin Blast, which is a yogurt with a Red Bull kick. When ordering selections, de zoete winkel has at least 50 flavors to choose from. Some, such as pumpkin pie spice, are seasonal. The Johnsens keep customers alerted to new flavors via facebook.

Toppings include fresh fruit, granolas, candy bars, sprinkles, syrups and bobas. Bobas can best be described as juicy, little fruity pearls that the pop in your mouth.

A new business gets to choose its own decor and look. Melissa Johnsen had one request — that the decor be bright and happy. Admitting that decorating was fun, they went with a 50's look. The main colors are magneta, yellow and blue. Ruth Greving, a local artist, painted the mural featuring a common scene from the 1950s — a drive-in theater with a local twist. de zoete winkel is spelled out with 45 rpm records.

Swirls on the wall are a vision of looking down in a cup of yogurt.

The Johnsens are grateful for the support of the community. Neel and Melissa both have day jobs, but admit to stopping in every day.