Ed Beaty is not too keen on desserts himself, but after seeing their popularity, he’s quenching the cravings of Effingham’s sweet tooth folks with his frozen yogurt shop.
“We went into every yogurt shop we could find just to see if they were all busy,” said Beaty. “The more research I did, I found out all of them are busting and packed.”
Fast Lane Frozen Yogurt — located in Fort Howard Square in Rincon on Highway 21 — boasts 60 plus toppings, claiming “more toppings than any other yogurt shop in southeast Georgia.”
They carry more than 25 different yogurt flavors and display the caloric information of each on a sign that looks like a car tag. They switch out flavors every three or four days, coinciding with how often they have to clean out the serving machines.
He said it’s the guilt-free, low-calorie qualities that allow customers to indulge.
“That’s what yogurt is all about,” Beaty said, pointing out a sign that measured their biggest size to be less than 200 calories. “People are into this kick with the low-calorie desserts. This is probably the most calories you’re going to get out of our yogurt. The same amount of ice cream would be 700-800 calories, but not in yogurt.”
He said his concept is different from other shops because customers use the front of the shop for dining and the back of the shop is where customers build their cold, candy-topped concoctions.
The theme of the shop follows a lifelong love of Beaty’s: drag racing. There is a decal of a 1970 Chevelle tearing through a bright yellow wall. Parked a few feet closer to the door are two 1966 Cobra car couches, where customers can sit in the “trunk.” The Cobra benches push up to a mural on the wall of those cars facing off toward the sunset, ready to drag race with an audience painted in to watch.
There is also a bar for customers to sit in that looks like a 1959 Corvette.
Above the “orange bar” — named for the bright orange paint on the walls — is a 3-D profile of a 1969 Camaro hovering of a row of cereal and candy toppings.
“Nobody has this bar,” said Beaty. “Everybody has this (buffet), but nobody has a bar like that.”
Beaty, an established businessman with a successful construction company, said that he got the idea to open the “fro yo” shop after visiting stores in this area and around the state with his fiancé.
He said that in the few weeks since opening, they have been packed on most days from 3 p.m. until about 10 p.m.
Beaty said that he’s already had offers from people who would like to open shops from Valdosta to Ridgeland, S.C.
Beaty sees a bright future and hopes to open another shop by April.
He said that he’s not worried about frozen yogurt being a passing fad because there will always be “health nuts” with a sweet tooth.
“I’m not really worried about it being a fad because I don’t think that in one year or three years people are going to say, ‘I don’t want any more yogurt,’” Beaty said. “I just don’t see that happening because we see the same people in here every day. Sweet tooth people, they’re going to love that sugar and sweets. So they’re not going anywhere.”
To naysayers, he said: “Eh, I’m a gambler anyways. I always have been.”