There was a couple to my right standing perplexed, 20 feet from the ice cream dispensers. Clearly they were new to the frozen yogurt scene, while I felt like a VIP. Well, sort of.
This was my third time in two weeks visiting the new frozen yogurt parlor in Marion, JuJuBerry, and I was on borderline addiction.
No more driving to Gas City or Upland for Payne’s and Ivanhoes, instead I have scrumptious ice cream place that’s cheaper, closer and healthier (even if I serve myself far more than I probably should).
At a typical ice cream parlor, people probably expect to wait at a counter to give an order, ponder upon their selection and wonder if the waiter is going to give them the right amount of hot fudge. Going to JuJuBerry is much more of a hands-on experience. If you are not familiar with the new self-serve frozen yogurt trend (aka “froyo”), you are truly missing out on the ice cream of the gods.
Owners Matt and Mary Stinson opened JuJuBerry in July and are already overwhelmed at the success of their family-owned parlor. Previously, they served as missionaries in Brazil, and now Matt Stinson pastors at Heritage Bible Fellowship in Marion.
“My wife and I needed something to supplement our income,” Stinson said. “We were also looking for ways to evangelize and reach out to Marion.”
JuJuBerry got its name from Stinson’s granddaughter, Julia. “It was her nickname and it just stuck out when we were trying to name the place,” Stinson said proudly.
Stinson’s love for home and family is already evident in the atmosphere of JuJuBerry. The first time I went inside, the newly opened parlor made my eyes bulge. With vibrant hot pink walls and checkered red floors, the ambiance is as sweet as the sugary treats it offers customers.
Tori Rambadt (sr) is one of many Indiana Wesleyan University students who has relished the froyo trend.
“I had never really been to a frozen yogurt place until this summer when I went to Yogurt Land in Florida,” Rambadt said. “When I found out there was a frozen yogurt place in Marion, I was beyond excited.”
Some other leading names in the frozen yogurt business are Pinkberry and Red Mango USA. These self-serve styles can be confusing for froyo virgins. Instead of ordering at a counter, customers grab a bowl and choose the amount from the soft-serve machine. After choosing the frozen yogurt flavor, customers are offered a smorgasbord of toppings. I prefer cheesecake bites, blackberries and mango juju berries. (For those unfamiliar with juju berries, they are small, round balls that are full of flavored juices, quite similar to bubbles in bubble tea.)
“We currently offer close to 70 toppings and compete with surrounding cities to keep prices low,” said Stinson.
Once customers are done loading their ice cream with syrups, fruits and candy, they weigh its bowl and are charged 40 cents per ounce. Some people like to strategize with lighter toppings for a cheaper prize … I somehow balance out at roughly $4 every time.
“Our most popular flavors are Cake Batter, Dulce de Leche and Classic Vanilla,” Stinson said.
Some frozen yogurt flavors contain Activia and have more of a tart taste, while others like Red Velvet have more of the sweetness of soft serve ice cream. I have found that fuller flavors come out in mixing tart yogurts with sweet toppings and vice versa. JuJuBerry continually rotates their flavors and even offers healthier options like fresh fruit for topping to make sure every customer creates exactly what’s wanted.
JuJuBerry is open six days a week, 12 p.m.- 10 p.m., and it is located off the bypass at 2020 S. Western Ave.