yogurt factory

Alissa Simmons serves up a cup of cold goodness at Dunedin Frozen Yogurt Factory, 457 Main St., in downtown Dunedin. Customers can create their own desserts by adding more than 40 toppings. Simmons and her mother, Dawn, opened the shop in July.

DUNEDIN — A local daughter-mother team is offering relief from sweltering hot days of summer with the opening of their Dunedin Frozen Yogurt Factory in the heart of downtown at 457 Main St., near Flanagan’s Irish Pub and Stirling Wine.

Alissa Simmons, a 2007 Dunedin High graduate, and her mother, Dawn, who served as the high school’s guidance counselor, decided to open up a yogurt shop in their hometown to provide a healthy fun dessert snack.

Coming across the perfect location for their yogurt factory in the middle of downtown “was like finding a unicorn,” Alissa said.

It is not easy to come across prime vacant retail space along Main Street in downtown; they grabbed at the opportunity to lease the space that used to house a dress shop.

“We are sooooo excited to be next to the best wine bar in town; we think their Merlot pairs quite well with our red velvet fro-yo,” their Facebook page notes. The location also has great passerby foot traffic, terrific visibility to motorists traveling along Main Street and, being across from Pioneer Park, it is in the middle of all the action.

She said they wanted to serve a healthy treat that everyone can enjoy; along with traditional soft serve yogurt, they offer many vegan, sugar-free, low-fat and gluten-free varieties of “fro-yo.”

Alissa explained it’s important to note they do not make their yogurt from powdered mixes; instead, their large freezers are filled with several flavor varieties of fresh Dannon yogurt in cartons, with live active cultures. They also have lactose-free yogurt made with dairy-free Silk vanilla almond milk.

Along with traditional favorites such as chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, dark chocolate caramel, and coffee soft-serve yogurt, other more exotic flavors include; dairy-free, vegan, low-fat matcha green tea, cake batter, cookies and cream, low fat, gluten-free red velvet cake and sugar-free cheesecake yogurt.

They also feature a variety of nonfat, non-dairy sorbets with flavors like mango sunrise and pomegranate raspberry.

Using the lever on the yogurt machine, people can flow their desired amount of soft-serve yogurt into a cup, with an opportunity to twist certain flavors; they then can choose from more than 40 toppings and weigh their creation. The weight of their frozen formation translates into the cost of their treat.

The women already had to add more flavors for vegans, just based on the demand in the few weeks since they opened July 13.

Along with regular coffee, tea, cappuccino, espresso, and gluten-free, dairy-free vegan, low-fat chocolate lattes, the Yogurt Factory features its own version of the popular affogato espresso coffee drink created in Italy and Americanized in Las Vegas, with yogurt substituted for traditional gelato.

Alissa said they even have a special yogurt treat for canines called pup cups. Dogs really appreciate the frozen treat on a hot summer day.

The Yogurt Factory’s summer hours are 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday 2 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 9 p.m. It is closed Monday, but that may change.

“We are thrilled with the response,” Alissa said. She is happy to already see many return customers. Many friends and former classmates from Dunedin High have stopped by to say hello and support the Yogurt Factory. She added she is proud to have hired students from Dunedin High as part of their staff.

Dunedin Yogurt Factory has a Facebook and Instagram page. Mentioning their social media page will get patrons a 10 percent discount, Alissa said.