Fro-yo fad sweeping Greater Binghamton

By Erika Mahoney

August 1, 2013 Updated Aug 2, 2013 at 9:38 AM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) Self-serve frozen yogurt is sweeping the nation, and Binghamton is no exception.

Hoopla Frozen Yogurt opened their doors Thursday, bringing the number of local shops specializing in fro-yo.

"It started out on the west coast, it's probably over 10 years old," said Hoopla Operating Partner Scott Searles. "Then, of course, it came to the New York City metro area. Now, it is going crazy all throughout the country. They are popping up in the Binghamton area, they are popping up all over the place."

Just a few hours after their grand opening, the dispensers were churning.

"I think it's really exciting to have a new frozen yogurt place by our house," said Madison Aswad. "It's really convenient and easy."

Fro-yo fans at Hoopla and Sweet Frog have a variety of reasons for turning to the frozen treat.

"It's neat to be able to load up," Jason Smith said.

Most agree with Smith, saying it's the do-it-yourself method that sets the treat apart from traditional ice cream.

"It's the different flavors you can get," said Carol Beardsley. "There are several different types. There are fruits, there are sours, there are sweets. There's anything you want."

The Sweet Frog in Binghamton opened mid-May.

"It can be pouring rain, or it looks like there's a hurricane coming, and people are still coming out," said Sweet Frog Assistant Manager, Whitney LaPointe. "People are waiting in their cars before we open. I'm not kidding, there's a girl who has a tattoo of the Sweet Frog logo on her arm."

Customers also said they pick frozen yogurt because they feel less guilty eating it.

"I have a proclivity toward food, so I'd rather have less calories," said Andrew Bache.

"It's kind of like a healthier version of ice cream," said Natalie Gillette.

But is the fad here to stay?

"I think it's going to be here for awhile," said Searles. "It's already out in California changing a bit. But right now, it's fresh, it's fun, you can create your own thing, you can be as decadent as you want."

Just blocks away from Hoopla, the owner of the famed Jones Humdinger said he expects the frozen yogurt business to take a bite out of his customer flow.

But he is still confident about selling ice cream.

"This business has been around for 56, 57 years," said Humdinger owner Steven Kalifelz. "We are kind of a landmark in the community."

There was a line at Humdinger, too.

"Right now I'm still into this," said Joanne Romancheck, holding a black cherry ice cream cone.

Whatever the palate prefers, smiles were plentiful at all shops in the area Thursday evening, showing that dessert will always stand the test of time.