TOWN 'N COUNTRY — When Sean Zheng moved to the United States from China 10 years ago he knew he'd pursue entrepreneurship once on U.S. soil.
He opened two Chinese restaurants in Gainesville and went about serving up food he knew. It was good business, but nothing out of the ordinary.
So Zheng decided to take a stab at something different — the frozen yogurt business. Along with his uncle as a business partner, Zheng opened Mooberry Yogurt, at 8436 W Hillsborough Ave., in the Town 'N Country area over the summer.
"It's a new business; not a lot of competition in this part of town," Zheng said.
Going from fried rice to frozen yogurt was a big jump for Zheng. The 32-year-old knew nothing about starting a frozen yogurt business. And in the heavy traffic and urban retail environment of Memorial Highway and Hillsborough Avenue, he didn't have much to compare it with.
He taught himself from the ground up, researching which machines to purchase, how to order the toppings that have become so popular and the perfect mix for frozen yogurt.
Mooberry serves a dozen frozen yogurt flavors, from the tart taro to cookies and cream to mango sorbet. Flavors change every two to three weeks to reflect seasonal ingredients.
And there are more than a dozen toppings, including Fruit Loops, coconut flakes and gummy worms.
In addition to frozen yogurt, Mooberry also serves smoothies and boba tea, an Asian drink that includes fruit, milk and small tapioca balls.
Mooberry opened in May just as the weather started to heat up. Zheng said his business was good with many Town 'N Country residents rejoicing over a new option for a cool treat. As temperatures have dropped, customers have slowed a bit. But Zheng says the shopping center provides good traffic.
Mooberry is in the Ross Plaza on Hillsborough Avenue, along with the popular Vietnamese restaurant Pho Quyen. Zheng says many of his customers come from the restaurant to enjoy desserts at Mooberry, especially the boba tea.
The inside of Mooberry is vibrant, with pink and green walls, and modern orange and green furniture. Servers wear bright green shirts and have cheerful personalities to match the decor. Though big frozen yogurt names like Pinkberry recently pulled out of west Hillsborough County, Zheng says it may be his connection to the neighborhood that has given him staying power.
"I tried to find a place to live close by," said Zheng, who lives in Town 'N Country as well. "It's great being here, working here and living here."
Mooberry is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, staying open till 10:30 on Friday and Saturday.For information, call (813) 890-6888 or see their Facebook page.