Frozen yoghurt business creates 15 new jobs in Belfast
A young couple behind a booming Belfast self-serve frozen yoghurt business are opening a new city centre store, creating 15 new jobs, it can be revealed.
Harry Wang (30) and Katie Waddell (24) are expanding their already successful east Belfast US-inspired yoghurt concept, Spoon Street, into Belfast city centre, with a new store set to open on Ann Street in September.
And the couple are planning even more stores. "We are talking about 15 new staff with the new outlet - from the outset, it was never just going to be one shop. We wanted to expand from the start," Katie said.
The pair met when Katie was on a gap year for work experience in New Jersey.
There she met businessman Harry Wang, and the pair soon transplanted the US concept of self-serve frozen yoghurt across the Atlantic, setting up shop in the Ballyhackamore area of east Belfast in October last year.
"I was at university, working in New Jersey and met Harry - he's from New York," Katie explained.
"I came across a similar concept in the US and fell in love with it and became obsessed with the idea of taking it back home. The idea was more than a year in the making."
And she said interest in their product had been "phenomenal" and she's hoping for similar feedback at their soon to open city centre location.
"It's been great, and a lot better than we had initially thought. There was nothing else like it in Northern Ireland. We are hitting this one with a bang and are going above and beyond.
"With Spoon Street, we wanted to create a fun factor and atmosphere around the product and business.
"The store is buzzing and that's great. The product is also extremely high quality. It's made in-house with fresh local produce and with all natural ingredients."
The concept is already a hit with customers who get to pour their own so-called 'froyo', with a selection of different flavours and toppings.
Their new store will open up right beside the Little Wing pizza restaurant.
Ms Waddell said the pair are thinking big, and are already in talks for a third location before rolling the business out to other areas.
Antrim firm Marcon is set to design and fit-out the firm's new store. It was also behind their flagship outlet in east Belfast.
Spoon Street is the latest business to help rejuvenate the Ann Street and Cornmarket area of Belfast city centre.
Earlier this month the Belfast Telegraph revealed brothers Edmund and Ronan Byrne are expanding their California Coffee business with a new spot on Ann Street, along with a top-end burger joint.
A deal to take over the location was finalised this month, with work already under way on the restaurant and cafe.
The cafe is set to open its doors as early as next month, with the burger joint around three months away. The ambitious new project - which is set to cost around £1m - is also creating 40 new jobs.
And there appears to be a growing appetite for frozen yoghurt, with another outlet, Yogland, opening up on the Lisburn Road in south Belfast.
Yogland is an international franchise business, with outlets in the UK, California, Dubai and Colombia.