This summer Fenwick Island is getting a new family-friendly dessert venue by way of HaHa’s — Healthy Alternative, Happy Attitude.
Mike and Karen Robel decided to open their own frozen yogurt store in February after having visited a few stores in the winter.
“We went down south for a while this winter and went into a couple of these chain stores, like Pinkberry… I said, ‘Nobody’s doing this around here,’” explained Mike Robel. “They were all busy. It was all a unique idea… People are more health-conscious now.”
The couple had previously owned video stores in New Jersey for 20 years and moved down to the beach almost two years ago and now are ready to work together again.
“For the most part, it’s fun,” Karen Robel said of working together. “We can bounce ideas off each other. When we had the video store, we had two desks that faced each other… We’ve worked together for 20 years. It works for us.”
“When you’re working together, you’re working toward a goal. I don’t think either one of us would go into any venture without the other,” Mike Robel added.
Located near Charlie’s Bayside, HaHa’s will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week during the summer season.
Their frozen yogurt store will feature 10 different flavors, plus twists, with at least 30 toppings — from fruit to candy.
“When you go in the store, you’re going to grab a cup, fill it up… you put in as much or as little as you want. You go to the topping bar that’s going to have anywhere from 18 to 14 hard toppings — peanut butter cups, sprinkles, nuts, coconut,” he said. “Then you’re going to go to a cold bar that’s going to have strawberries, peaches, watermelon, fruits, cheesecake bites, brownie bites. You put that on. Hot fudge, butterscotch, caramel, cherry. You make it like a sundae, basically, but you do it yourself.”
“We’re going to try to make it a fun atmosphere for both parents and kids that come in,” Mike Robel added. “Part of it is the fun of making your own yogurt sundae.”
Robel said the nearby farming community is a perfect place to find the fresh fruit toppings they’ll be offering customers.
“I plan on using the local produce and farmers. The peaches are great around here, and the strawberries this year are outrageous. So we’ll be getting those from the local markets,” he said.
The yogurt sundaes will cost 49 cents per ounce, with the option of adding a homemade waffle bowl to sweeten the deal.
HaHa’s has something for everyone. Some of their frozen yogurts are gluten-free or sugar-free, and they will even have sorbet for those who are lactose intolerant but still want a cool treat.
“The flavors we have are outrageous,” said Mike Robel. “We have standard vanilla and chocolate, but the others will be changing, like Red Velvet Cake, New York Cheesecake, Luscious Lemon, Original Tart, Cookies and Cream.”
Karen Robel said she was more of an ice cream person before they decided to go with frozen yogurt in their business and discovered its unique appeal. The Robel’s hope to appeal to everyone with their frozen yogurt store and have a list of reasons why they think yogurt is a great “alternative” to ice cream.
“It’s half the fat, half the calories than your ice creams. It’s got live and active cultures in it, which is great for your digestive system. It boosts immunity and lowers cholesterol,” he said. “Hey – instead of going to get the ice cream, come and get the yogurt.”
The Robels said they hope that locals and visitors alike will stop in and enjoy their healthy alternative and happy attitudes.
“I hope they all come, because everybody’s excited about the idea. Everybody says they’ll come. Nobody’s doing it around here… Nobody’s doing yogurt,” he said.
“For this store I hope to bring just a really fun, good experience for people. It’s just a fun thing to do,” Karen Robel said.
HaHa’s is located at 300 Coastal Highway in Unit 14 at the Village of Fenwick.