Chilly Billy’s celebrates first birthday

The self-serve yogurt shop in Dinkytown celebrated one year of business with half-off merchandise.

Kinesiology junior Kristin Tyler, strategic communications junior Elli Norberg and biology junior Colleen Mooney, from left to right, enjoy frozen yogurt Monday at Chilly Billy’s. The Dinkytown frozen yogurt shop celebrated its first anniversary with 50 percent off all frozen yogurt creations.

Kinesiology junior Kristin Tyler, strategic communications junior Elli Norberg and biology junior Colleen Mooney, from left to right, enjoy frozen yogurt Monday at Chilly Billy’s. The Dinkytown frozen yogurt shop celebrated its first anniversary with 50 percent off all frozen yogurt creations.

Molly Novak

 

Pink, brown and white frozen yogurt oozed from machines as students lined-up for discount treats in celebration of Chilly Billy’s first birthday.

For 46 cents an ounce, customers have the choice of 10 yogurt flavors and 50 toppings including fresh fruit, brownies, animal crackers, gummy worms and, as Easter approaches, peeps.

The family-owned frozen yogurt shop in Dinkytown celebrated its first year of business Monday by cutting prices in half.

Students piled in the store around lunch time, keeping owner Bill Marker behind the counter until a full staff arrived around 1 p.m.

Students automatically whipped out their punch cards when purchasing snacks Monday, but because of the half-off deal, Chilly Billy’s wasn’t giving punches.

“Come back tomorrow and I’ll give you two punches,” Marker joked. The shop always has a “two-punch Tuesday” deal.

Marker is often in the store, greeting customers and getting to know the regulars by name.

Elizabeth Weitz, a University of Minnesota architecture major, became one of Chilly Billy’s regular customers after the recent closure of Fru-LaLa, another nearby frozen yogurt shop.

“Fru-LaLa had a really calm atmosphere that is good for studying,” she said. “However, I love Chilly Billy’s, because Bill is really personable,  and it’s a fun environment here.”

Other students also have strong devotion to Chilly Billy’s.

“This is a lot higher quality and cleaner facility [than Fru-Lala was],” said freshman Jessica Edwards, as she scraped the bottom of her Chilly Billy’s cup on Monday. “I’m not surprised they closed. There’s no way it was going to stay open with this right here,” she said.

Over the past year, Chilly Billy’s has attracted more than 100,000 customers, Marker said.

“We’re really spreading like wildfire,” he said.

What sets the shop apart from places like Fru-LaLa is it’s a self-serve location — something a lot of customers love, Marker said.

“It’s very unique from other places,” said freshman biology major Ali Elbasher. “You pick out your size and the flavor you want. It’s self-controlled.” Other customers said they appreciate Chilly Billy’s customer service.

“The staff is really nice,” said sophomore kinesiology major Liz Windholz.

First-year student Erin Felton worked the afternoon rush during the celebration Monday.

Before working at Chilly Billy’s, she frequented the shop during her first semester. While searching for a job, Felton said it was the first place she applied.

Felton stood by the yogurt dispensers during her shift, passing out free samples to customers waiting to try flavors before buying them.

As the first afternoon rush slowed down, Marker came out from behind the counter and went to talk with customers.

“It’s going to be busy until 11,” he said. “People have already said they’re going to be coming back tonight.”