New yogurt shop lets customers 'do it themselves'

Grant Orndorff, left, and wife Stacy are founders of Swirl, a self-serve frozen yogurt shop at Publix Plaza in Leesburg. Customers dispense their own yogurt and toppings, which are sold by weight.

Grant Orndorff, left, and wife Stacy are founders of Swirl, a self-serve frozen yogurt shop at Publix Plaza in Leesburg. Customers dispense their own yogurt and toppings, which are sold by weight.

LEESBURG -- Monday was the second day of life for Swirl, the new yogurt shop at Publix Plaza, and according to co-founder and owner, Grant Orndorff, traffic was "steady."

"We planned a 'soft' opening to begin with," Orndorff said. "We'll advertise and have a grand opening in two or three weeks."

Swirl is unusual among yogurt establishments as their product is self-dispensed and sold by weight. The customer mixes flavors and buys only what he or she wants.

A variety of toppings is available from candy to fresh fruit, nuts and raisins. It also helps keep price and payroll low, Orndorff said.

Orndorff and his wife Stacy had been thinking about starting the shop for "quite a while," they said. Along with doing basic research they found a couple of similar shops to visit during a recent vacation. Two of the nearest are in Pensacola Beach, Fla., and Dothan, Ala., Orndorff said. In the end, the Orndorffs "saw no advantage," in buying an established franchise, so all their equipment is generic. According to Orndorff, the Swirl name has no association with any other yogurt shops.

Orndorff is no newcomer to the food business, with nearly five years experience as general manager for Stewbo's restaurant group. The Stewbo's group includes Harvest Moon, The Catch, and Henry Campbell's Steakhouse, and is owned by Bo Henry and Stewart Campbell.

"It's worked out just as we planned," Orndorff said. "Bo and Stewart are in complete support of what I'm doing and are giving me the time I need to get things running until I can get a manager."

Stacy Orndorff said she plans to put as much time as she can into the Lee County shop while still caring for their two children.


chinaberry25 3 years, 11 months ago

Selling by weight? What if you do not want to pay what it weighs? Are we going to scrap it back into the bucket? Don't think I will be coming here. People could be owing $8 for an ice cream and this method will not last.


Terihdfxr 3 years, 11 months ago

China why do you have to be so critical ?
No one cares if you do not visit their business. Always have to be so negative. How can you form an opinion if you havent been there? Well we know what they say about opinions ! everyone has one. Lets just wish the Orndorff's good luck with their new business.


sogalake 3 years, 11 months ago

There are yogurt shops in cities all over the US like this and the weighing part works fine. I have seen no scraping it back into the bucket. I wish the Orndorff's the best.


supersquawker 3 years, 11 months ago

I've been to similar places in other cities and you cannot swing a cat in them they are so popular. But yes it will cost you out the wazoo if you aren't careful. I'm sure there will be some title pawns set up nearby for some extra quick cash, tho.


justmy2 3 years, 11 months ago

Right! china why be so negative to someone doing great things for themselves, you are a hater in action! the weight thing is not so bad. i have been to one in atlanta and its actually not bad at all. just dont be a pig and try to put every thing on the bar in your ice cream cup and you wont have to put any back. way to go Orndorffs!


Local 3 years, 11 months ago

Wonderful! Cannot wait to try it. Best of luck to you.


daisymae 3 years, 11 months ago

China, are you one of those who put CiCi's out by loading your plate and scaping the toppings off and throwing the crust away. Good Luck to the Orndorff's in your new venture. Albany/Leesburg need new businesses with fresh ideas.


brandi 3 years, 11 months ago

Congratulations and best wishes to the Orndoffs of their new business venture. And to Chinaberry- this is no new concept. Have you ever been to the grocery store and bought produce or meats? You are paying by the weight. As long as your not a frequent customer at an all you can eat buffet you should be able to judge the amount of yogurt you dispense in your cup. I think the idea is great. If you just want a little, you pay a little. We will be there to support you Grant and Stacey!


firefly 3 years, 11 months ago

As a mother, I think this would be something fun for my little ones to do. Hope to stop by this weekend!


abbeycarter 3 years, 11 months ago

I recently went to a fro yo place in Savannah and loved the concept! I think it will be very successful here and wish The Orndorff's the best of luck. China - you should be able to judge about how much it will be depending on how full you fill your cup and how many toppings you put in it. It's not a hard concept...if you're not willing to pay for it, don't go.


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