Top This finds success in self-serve business model
Published 9:41 am, Wednesday, July 7, 2010
There are many ice cream shops in Westport -- Baskin Robbins, Carvel and Sunny Daes, to name a few -- but Louise Constantini was certain there was room for one more.
Top This, Constantini's newly-opened frozen yogurt shop in the heart of downtown, has already accumulated a large and loyal following of "fro-yo" lovers while breaking the mold of typical ice cream shops.
"It's totally unique" to Westport, said Constantini, a 10-year town resident who began developing the idea for Top This nine months ago.
Top This, which occupies the space once home to Ben and Jerry's, is not like other ice cream shops in town. For starters, it serves only frozen yogurt, which Constantini said is "healthier for our customers and just as delicious" as ice cream.
Flavors include typical finds such as chocolate and vanilla, but also other flavors that get switched out every few days, such as New York cheesecake, red velvet cake, cookies and cream, and cappuccino.
There are 24 available toppings, including standards such as chocolate chips and sprinkles, but also healthier alternatives such as fresh fruit, nuts and granola.
Top This is also self-serve, an idea Constantini said was inspired by ice cream establishments on the West coast, where she vacations. This self-serve model, Constantini said, was crucial to her design.
"Space was an issue, and I wanted to have indoor seating, so I found the best solution was to have it be self-serve so we could push everything against the wall," she said.
According to Constantini, who was previously busy raising her kids, 20-year-old twins Emily and Marie, this unique model has been successful.
"Business is going very well. People in Westport seem to be really enjoying the product," she said. "They love it. They're having fun with it, having fun taking as little or as much yogurt as they want, having fun operating the machines."
One such customer, Elizabeth Toomey, 19, said she is "obsessed" with the new establishment.
"I love it, I try all the different flavors," said Toomey, who goes to Top This several times a week. "I love ice cream, but frozen yogurt is just a double-plus. And the atmosphere is really cool with all the bright colors."
Toomey also praised the pricing -- cost is determined at a weighing station and is 59 cents per ounce -- as a reason she chooses Top This over other local creameries.
"This is more normally-priced, because most of the other ice cream places in town have bumped up their prices," she said.
"They're wonderful," she said. "They're all excited that I'm there and I'm excited to be there for them."
Top This is located at 14 Post Road E. For more information, call 203-557-4474.