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Yogurt shop serves up perfect study break for FIU students

A frozen yogurt shop offers tasty treats — and karaoke night — across the street from Florida International University.

BY RODOLFO ROMAN
Special to The Miami Herald
Florida International University student Raquel Marciao took time off from her studies to reward herself with a sweet, tasty treat.

“We come to indulge but not really because yogurt is healthy for you,” said Marciao, a biology major who was one of many customers who stood in line to fill up their white cups with flavored yogurt at Chic Berry Frozen Yogurt, 1689 SW 107th Ave.

The shop, which openned last year, is across from FIU’s main campus and has proved popular with students.

The yogurt joint offers 12 flavors and six mixed-flavor option, and lets customers customize the snack they desire. The treats are sold at 49 cents an ounce.

The yogurt joint, located in the University Shopping Center, will be celebrating its one year anniversary in August. Carmen Rojas Roa and her husband, Romain Roa Sanchez, run the spot. The couple used to own a company that sold satellite dishes. The store has six employees who Rojas Roa said are part of the store’s success.

“Our employees make sure our customers feel they are special,” she said.

On a recent Sunday evening, the yogurt shop was packed with customers waiting in line, while families and students sat on couches and at a counter enjoying their treats.

Music played and a big-screen television showed a movie.

The shop also offers karaoke on Thursdays, along with a disc jockey and local singers. Free Wi-Fi is also available. As an added bonus, all FIU and Miami Dade College students get a 10 percent discount.

A native of Venezuela and a paralegal, Rojas Roa has been a fan of yogurt all her life because of its health benefits, such as being a good source of calcium, she said.

During a one-year stay in Las Vegas, she was inspired to venture into the yogurt business after visiting a frozen yogurt shop.

She said she was met by doubters.

“People had told me the concept wouldn’t work because Miami wasn’t ready for it,” said Roa, who lives in Doral.

In early 2009, she returned home to South Florida with the urge to open a store. While looking for a location, she took notice of how the recession was affecting up-and coming-businesses. But it didn’t deter her, and she said the struggling economy actually worked in her favor.

“I wouldn’t have been able to rent this place next to the university if the economy wasn’t difficult,” she said.

Some of the flavors: Nonfat Original Tart, Green Tea, Mango Tart Peanut Butter and New York Cheesecake.

“We are a cultural community with lots of mixture, so I picked the flavors based on our community,” Rojas Roa said.

There are more than 40 toppings and syrups, including granola, Nestle Crunch, caramel and condensed milk. Fresh fruits like blueberry, strawberry, pineapple and kiwi are also available.

“Everyone leaves happy because we have a flavor for everyone,” she said.

Roa said another store is in the works.

Chic Berry Frozen Yogurt is open from noon to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For information, call 305-227-6792.

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