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And then there was one; two frozen yogurt shops close, Orange Leaf remains

The CherryBerry frozen yogurt shop in the Prairie View Center closed its doors for good on Sunday, Nov. 15. (Photos by Randy Hanson)1 / 2
The shop at the corner of Second and Locust streets that housed FreeStyle Frozen Yogurt for three years is now vacant. Shop owner Dave Brandner didn’t renew his lease at the end of September.2 / 2

Three frozen yogurt shops opened in Hudson between the fall of 2012 and the spring of 2013. Now just one remains.

Sunday, Nov. 15, was the last day of business for CherryBerry, located in the Prairie View Center at the corner of Carmichael Road and Vine Street.

“We sincerely thank all those patronizing our store over the past 30 months – especially the regulars and the Hudson Middle School kids. You tested and taught me patience. I will miss you all,” owner Larry Norheim said in a message taped to the front door on Monday morning.

“Owning a CherryBerry was the best job I have ever had. I should have been doing this years ago,” Norheim added.

The message continued with a pitch for customers to patronize Hudson’s small businesses.

“They are the heart and soul of our community and they need you,” Norheim said, and closed with: “No regrets… CherryBerry Larry.”

The FreeStyle frozen yogurt shop closed at the end of September after a three-year run at the corner of Second and Locust streets in downtown Hudson. Owner Dave Brandner told the website that he was unable come to terms on a new lease agreement with building owner Andy Kron and decided to move on.

Hudson’s remaining frozen yogurt shop is Orange Leaf, located in a retail building along Carmichael Road, between the Chipotle and Noodles & Company restaurants. The late Kevin Vance and his wife, Rita, opened the Orange Leaf shop in January 2013. Alicia and Travis Schneider are now co-owners of the shop, along with Rita Vance.

Brandner in a 2014 interview with the Star-Observer talked about the Hudson market being oversaturated with frozen treat businesses. He hadn’t expected two other self-serve frozen yogurt shops to open shortly after his.

He also faced downtown competition from Knoke’s Chocolates ice cream and the Dairy Queen, as well as Culver’s custard and Cold Stone ice cream on the hill.

Brandner added Dogg Haus hotdogs to his menu in the fall of 2014 in an attempt to increase traffic, especially during the winter months.

Norheim added smoothies, protein shakes and snacks to try to increase sales at CherryBerry, he told, but it didn’t bring in enough money to make the business profitable.

Norheim was a lifelong resident of Bismarck, N.D., before moving here with his wife, Marsha, to be near their daughter Heather Signalness and open the Hudson CherryBerry shop. It was his retirement venture after a 35-year career as a CAD draftsman.

Norheim was popular with the many students from the nearby Hudson Middle School who would stop in after classes.

“U gave many young kids first jobs and training that they will forever remember, and use those skills for years to come!” a customer posted on CherryBerry’s Facebook page. “We thank you, and best of luck in the future….”

A post by the Hudson Marching Band Parent Group thanked Norheim for allowing the group to hold fundraisers at the shop.

“We are sad to see that CherryBerry is closed!” a group representative said.

Self-serve frozen yogurt became a hot trend in warmer states in the mid-2000s, and spread to the north about a decade later.

Its popularity was based on it having about a third fewer calories than ice cream. It also is available in many flavors and with a multitude of toppings.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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