As stone's throw from the new Shelter Cove Community Park is a land frozen yogurt lovers dream of — a land of salted caramel, wedding cake, Key lime and dozens more mouthwatering flavors. The ambiance is colorful and bright and the staff is cheerful. The chairs are the color of orange zest; their retro-futuristic design would suggest “The Jetsons” meets Charles and Ray Eames meets “Star Trek.”
"Orange Leaf is a dessert destination. Every person walking through the door is family, and we want it to be a very pleasant experience. Customer service is our number one priority,” says Orange Leaf proprietor and franchisee David Pierre. Yes, the self-serve frozen yogurt craze is sweeping the Lowcountry, and once you try the more than 30 toppings that rotate seasonally, you'll join the froyo party, too.
The froyo self-serve experience is simple for first-timers: choose a cup size and then make the rounds of the self-serve yogurt stations. There’s even a little divider that can be inserted into the cup to keep the different flavors separate. Then move over to the toppings bar to choose anything and everything, from exotic chocolate “gravel” and popping mango boba (little capsules bursting with mango juice inside) to all-time favorites like maraschino cherries, peanuts and chocolate sauce. The cup is then weighed at the counter and the customer pays by the ounce.
And what about those super cool spoons?
“Our orange spoons have become quite as loved as the frozen yogurt. Our spoons are recycled which our customers appreciate," Pierre said. In the past, the staff has held contests with the spoons including geocaches. Orange Leaf also provides entertainment in the form of iPad stations, minigolf putting contests and large-screen televisions.
Born in South Africa, Pierre has traveled the world consulting and opening restaurants. He has opened multiple Orange Leaf stores in New England, then opened the store on Hilton Head Island in May 2014. With more than 300 stores around the country, the Oklahoma-based company has been ranked the fastest-growing frozen yogurt franchise in the country — and it can now add Dubai to the list of cities where it will be opening stores, along with new stores in Australia and another soon to open in China.
“The culture of each store supporting its surrounding community — it's what attracted me to Orange Leaf. If you look after your community, the community looks after you,” Pierre said. “We support athletic teams, set up our tent at fun runs and give complimentary samples.”
Orange Leaf also caters birthday parties, fundraisers, sporting events and corporate functions. Blueberry Lemonade, Sassy Citrus Pink Grapefruit, Snickerdoodle Cookie, Lemon Bar, Peppermint Patty … beware, these flavors might encourage party-crashing.
Shelter Cove Towne Centre
38 Shelter Cove Lane, Suite 128
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
Sunday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.