Making people happy is Ann Nguyen’s mission and frozen yogurt is her passion. Mix those two ingredients together, and you get Sugar Berry — a parlor that serves up flavorful frozen yogurt and fresh, fun toppings. Nguyen opened a new shop on the west side of Lansing in June of this year. It joins Nguyen’s first Sugar Berry that she opened at the end of 2010 in the Frandor area. She selected the Frandor location because it gets a lot of traffic. This second spot accommodates her customers from Grand Ledge and west Lansing who were traveling east to get their fix of the frozen delight. Both Sugar Berry locations offer 12 flavors and more than 70 toppings. Among the toppings, which include chocolate chips, granola, gummy bears and more, there is also in season fresh fruit. Although she rotates most frozen yogurt flavors, there’s one flavor that she can never do without — taro, made from purple potatoes. “It is a best seller,” she declares. Regardless of the flavor — from the more traditional vanilla to the more exotic lychee — they’re all made fresh every day from her own recipe. And they’re healthy, too. Nutrition information is clearly displayed on the wall. The “Health Benefits” sign reads in part: “All natural, clears skin, lowers cholesterol, Calcium strengthens bones and teeth.” “People are surprised to see how healthy the frozen yogurt is,” Nguyen said. “They’re happy to get the ice cream effect of a frozen treat without all the calories. Adding your favorite toppings makes it fun, too.” Her customers agree. From a small child delighting in making a unique creation, to a senior citizen looking for a refreshing and healthy treat, both locations have won over many loyal patrons. The response to both shops has been rewarding to Nguyen, who dreamed of creating a shop like this. “I saw one while I was on vacation in California. There was nothing in Lansing like this,” she said. Nguyen counts herself lucky that this past winter was so mild because the iced treats have kept customers coming, but she’s prepared for the cooler weather when things might slow down. Originally from New Orleans, she didn’t let her fear of owning a business overtake her desire to bring this fresh and wholesome idea to Lansing, her hometown of the last 12 years. Nguyen did a lot of research before opening the businesses. From selecting a huge mural that displays bright citrus colors to finding the two locations, Nguyen is very hands-on. The two shops share the same design — fun, colorful and vibrant. The décor reflects her vision to make it a fun place for people of all ages. And watching people smile when they first walk in and when they walk away is her greatest reward. “I wish I could capture the happy faces I see every day,” she said. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. In August, Sugar Berry was voted number four in a poll of Lansing’s top ice cream parlors conducted by MLive. Her time spent here has been busy. Not only does she own and operate the two shops, she also runs a nail salon in Charlotte. When asked how she keeps it all going, she said: “I love what I do. I would be bored if I had a day off,” she said. Thanks to her winning recipe and great outlook on life, it’s unlikely she’ll be bored soon. Summer hours at Sugar Berry are: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 11 p.m. Sunday. You can also join Sugar Berry on facebook at www.facebook.com/sugarberryfrandor
Ann Cool, MPS, is a freelance writer who lives in Mason with her husband Bob.