Photography by John Stapleton
by John Stapleton
Finding an affordable place where the entire family can escape those stir-crazy feelings of being trapped in A.C. all day, can be difficult.
Yogurt Jungle is the perfect little getaway spot for everyone. Whether as an alternative meal option or just a cool treat, Yogurt Jungle offers 12 different flavors of froyo and 60 different options for toppings.
The Johnson family took over the business in 2015.
“We have always loved Yogurt Jungle, even before we owned it,” Michelle Johnson says.
The timing was right, she says, because she had just finished her master’s degree and her husband Bo had been building his collectible reselling business.
There was definitely a learning curve in testing out what worked and what didn’t work. There was also competition with another franchise operation that had set up shop in Maricopa. At the time, the Maricopa market couldn’t support two frozen yogurt shops but Yogurt Jungle prevailed while the other business eventually closed up shop.
When the pandemic hit, Yogurt Jungle nearly closed its doors. However, the community of Maricopa rallied to save the shop.
“Things got ugly really quick,” Johnson says. “When we were supposed to be going into our busiest time was when things were coming to a halt. We saw the reality coming fast that Yogurt Jungle would not survive the pandemic going the rate it was.
“We pleaded with the community that we needed their support. Nothing seemed to be working. We took the drastic measures and showed our financials from the month of April 2019 and compared it to the month of April 2020, to show the community how drastic and dire the situation truly was.”
Johnson says the community heard their cries for help and rallied behind them “like the amazing community we know and love.” Customers came in a bought gift cards for when things would settle down.
“Maricopa showed us they loved us and wanted us to stay around as much as we wanted to,” she says. The shop has since recovered.
Johnson says what makes Yogurt Jungle unique is that every visit can be different with their rotating options. They have also added Jungle Jar Shakes; customers get to keep the glass jar.
The most successful ingredient, though, Johnson says, is the family environment. They are considering and looking to expand to another location in the county.