By Gary Nager

With all of the frozen yogurt shops that have opened in our area the last year or two, you might think it would be difficult to distinguish one from the other.

Well, while some might argue that yogurt is yogurt — and will never be ice cream — I believe that the new You Say When Yogurt Shoppe in Highwoods Preserve, near Boston Market and the Verizon store, has got the perfect formula for success.

The yogurt at You Say When, which did previously have a location in the Shops at Wiregrass mall, but that shop has since changed names, is exceptionally creamy, much closer to ice cream (despite its many low-calorie, low- and even no-fat options) in taste than most other frozen yogurts I’ve sampled (and I’ve sampled quite a few now), the shoppe stocks virtually any topping you could ask for (including real hot fudge and hot caramel, yum!) and the owners are two long-time law enforcement veterans and New Tampa residents who want to provide both a great product and a safe haven for young families and teens.

Owners Kevin and Ali Fitzpatrick met when Kevin, a long-time, now-retired deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, was teaching at the Police Academy when Ali was training for her long career with the Tampa Police Department. Both have more than 25 years protecting and serving (Ali is almost ready to retire, too) and Kevin says the yogurt business just sort of fell into their laps.

“We’ve both got more than 25 years of serving the community,” he says. “Now, we’re just serving the community great yogurt.”

He says the couple’s son Joshua introduced them to a competing yogurt company’s shop on N. Dale Mabry, just when the Fitzpatricks were looking for a business they could open somewhere in or close to the home in Tampa Palms where the family has lived since 1987.

“I said to Ali, ‘We have to open something like this in our area,’ and now we have,” he says. “And in just the few months, we’ve been open, we’ve gotten tremendous feedback and support from the community.”

One of those supporters is a young Freedom High student named Sammy who is getting ready to appear on MTV’s series “Made,” where one high school student per show has his or her greatest fantasy brought to life.

“Apparently,” says Kevin, “every time Sammy has met with the show’s producers, they say he’s had them take him to You Say When. He’s definitely going to give us some great word of mouth when his show is air.ed.”

Speaking of word of mouth, my favorite flavors at You Say When are the Reese’s peanut butter, island banana, Hershey’s chocolate and the extra-creamy dulce de leche. You Say When offers all sorts of chocolate and candy toppings, from Heath bars to some sort of “exploding” fruit candy, but the real hot fudge and caramel are a must — at least for me, they are. You won’t find bananas in the toppings area, though. Those are sliced fresh for you at your request!

You Say When Yogurt is located at 17503 Preserve Walk Ln., between FedEx and Planet Beach. For more info, call 971-2103. Also, see the You Say When ad on page 55 of this issue for amazing coupon deals, including how you can get a free 5-oz. cup of yogurt!

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