Sam Dong and his wife, Rachel Xia, relocated to Brandon from Los Angeles last year. They were in search of more than good weather.
They hoped to tap into a market ripe for year-round frozen yogurt consumption with an Asian-inspired twist.
The pair opened Green Berry Frozen Yogurt 'n' Tea Bar in the spring. At first blush, the shop with its sushi and exotic teas would seem a better fit for the university area, where it could attract college students. But Dong and Xia felt smoothie shops already saturated that area and New Tampa, where they had also considered opening.
In the Brandon area, they figured they could launch something new.
"We're bringing things to the area that people have never seen before," said Dong, 25. "People in this area are really receptive to something different."
The couple set up shop in a plaza on Adamo Drive just west of I-75 that is home to Hooters, Subway, Office Depot and Old Time Pottery. Their shop boasts an eclectic menu with a variety of offerings from sushi to homemade yogurt.
The owners, both natives of China, make the yogurt flavors, which range from vanilla to taro, a plant found in many tropical areas in Asia. A self-serve topping bar provides the finishing touch for the sweet treat.
The store also offers a large selection of drinks including coffee, tea and smoothies. Its signature ice milk tea is a combination of tea, sugar and cream. The drinks often contain boba, tapioca balls that add sweetness to tea drinks.
"Many people mistake them for blueberries when ordering," Dong said.
In addition to yogurt and drinks, the shop offers other desserts.
Green Berry's decor, a mix of bright and modern design, includes lounge areas with magazines and games such as Uno and Barrel of Monkeys.
"We want people to enjoy their family time here in addition to having a great food," Dong said.
Green Berry Frozen Yogurt 'n' Tea Bar is located at 10047 E Adamo Driv. For more information, call (813) 374-9006.
New office park opens
In May, the New Tampa Commerce Center opened in Thonotosassa near the intersection of Fowler Avenue and Highway 301.
"The location is ideal for commercial industries in this area," said Jeffrey Bardin of CLW Real Estate Services Group, which helped develop the project. "It's close to I-75 and I-4. The environmental impact was minimal, and the market for centrally-located commercial buildings is on the rise."
At 176,398 square feet, the facility, essentially a cluster of commercial office spaces, can accommodate many businesses. Its first tenant is CSC, which provides full-service repairs for McDonald's equipment in central Florida. The company's Thonotosassa office will serve as a training facility, dispatch office and warehouse.
New Tampa Commerce Center welcomed brokers to its open house on May 14. The '50s-inspired event had car hops, a driving range, gourmet food and tours of the facilities. Bardin said the CLW Industrial Group is in negotiations for more tenants.
"The reaction from the community has been very positive," Bardin said. "The facility builds to suit the needs of our tenants, and we're looking forward to having more come into the center."
New Tampa Commerce Center is at 11451 U.S. 301. For more information, call (813) 349-8376.
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