Residents keen to try fro-yo despite Gladstone tax on price
AMERICA'S largest frozen yoghurt store has come to town to wow food fanatics, snackaholics and dairy aficionados.
But don't think you can get your hands on one of these stores - they aren't your typical franchise.
In fact, New South Wales businessman Paul Siderovski bought the Australian rights to the store last April and has since built 18 shops, with another three coming soon.
Gladstone was chosen as the 17th Australia store and the second Queensland destination to get the creamy and dreamy snack, which all the cool kids call "fro-yo" - short for frozen yoghurt.
The Yogurtland - yes, we'll forgive the American spelling for now - business was founded in California in 2006 and has more than 200 stores across the US and central America, and an entourage of celebrity fans including Kim Kardashian.
Gladstone store manager Amanda Horkings believes the concept brings a change for people.
"There's nothing like it in Gladstone," she said.
She said the frozen yoghurt was healthier than many other ice cream products available and also vegetarian friendly.
For those who didn't make it down for the opening freebie or haven't been seduced by the self-serve handles, customers have the choice of about 18 rotating flavours, many lactose-free, some low in sugar and others low fat or fat free
The nice or "naughty" toppings range from fresh fruits and nuts to sprinkles, freckles and gummy bears.
"It's like an explosion in your mouth of all these different flavours," Amanda said, adding that for those who had particular dietary requirements, ingredient listings were readily available behind the counter.
Customers serve themselves and are charged per cup weight at 70 cents an ounce.
Unsurprising to Gladstone, the cost is 11 cents more than some of the metro stores, but that hasn't stopped the hungry hordes from piling their cups high to the sky.
With previous jobs involving business management and labour hire, alongside practical jobs such as a pastry chef and baker by trade, both business and food have been at the heart of Amanda's experience.
She has lived in Gladstone for 16 years, and was enticed by the thought of managing Yogurtland because "it was a different challenge".
As a working manager she supports 23 staff.
She has seen a lot of development in the hospitality industry during her time and hopes it will continue to grow.
"We haven't had enough people living here to support cafes and stores," she said.
"But we need it and, as Gladstone grows, we will see different stores open."