Now Open: 'Top This' Frozen Yogurt Sees Warm Reception for Cool Dessert
Owner Larry Kaplan brings frozen yogurt to Lafayette Hill.
There's little doubt that at least one person driving down Germantown Pike earlier this summer, baking in the 100-degree heat, wished that someone would open up a frozen yogurt store nearby.
Well, ever since Top This Frozen Yogurt opened its doors two weeks ago, those wishes have come true. And as owner Larry Kaplan is figuring out, it looks like there was more than just one person hoping for the popular dessert.
"Business has been great, despite it just being word of mouth," says Kaplan, an Olney native who has found success as a small business owner in the suburbs. "I already feel we are slowly becoming a part of the community, and Lafayette Hill is an amazing area."
The store, located in the Shoppes of Lafayette Hill near Germantown and Joshua Road, is the second Top This location, after Kaplan and business partner Ali Cutler opened the first in Narberth last August. Kaplan says he got the idea to open in Whitemarsh after he received an e-mail from several Colonial School District students who visited the Narberth location.
We trekked 45 minutes in the blazing sun to have a morsel of your frozen yogurt and it was worth every wrong turn… We are writing this email to inform you that a "Top This" is needed in our town, Lafayette Hill…[it] is seriously lacking in the frozen yogurt department.
"So I see that e-mail and I was pretty amazed," Kaplan says. "What they didn't realize was that I knew Lafayette Hill very well and have some close friends who live here."
Kaplan moved quickly to open his second location in less than a year, but he is confident that the business will do well. He believes Top This' early success, especially against a number of competitors on the Main Line, is due to two things: more toppings, and more community involvement.
"We're owner operated, and I'm going to be here a lot, trying to meet the community, sponsoring sports teams, donating to the school, and getting involved," says Kaplan.
He admits that having Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School right down the road will provide a great customer base. Already, the store is seeing a lot of traffic from high school-aged customers, and young employees will surely help convert the location into an essential after school pit stop.
However, it appears the frozen yogurt is what really does the trick. Top This boasts ten rotating flavors and about sixty toppings and products. Kaplan says so far the most popular flavors are the vanilla and chocolate creams and the "Top This Tart."
Kaplan has an interesting personal story himself. A teacher at various public and Hebrew schools for about twenty years, Kaplan says he originally aspired to be a policeman until he suffered a severe spinal cord injury in 1992.
"I was told that I was never going to run again and that I'd probably be paralyzed," Kaplan says.
That gave him a new direction in life: studying the human body and achieving fitness. The interest slowly snowballed into a passion, until Kaplan left education to open up Varsity Fitness, a Narberth-based gym catering to kids.
Before long the clientele expanded to all ages, and even more, Kaplan was approached to become the strength and conditioning coach for the Philadelphia Freedoms, a professional tennis team.
"Somehow I go from working with local tennis players to international Grand Slam champions, it's just one of those crazy things," Kaplan recalls.
The progression to frozen yogurt storeowner might seem a little strange, but Kaplan says the idea was simply presented to him and that he recognized it as another great opportunity to pursue.
"You do what you love, and good things happen," he says.
Top This is located at 422 Germantown Pike in Lafayette Hill, in a shopping center on the southeast corner of the intersection with Joshua Road. Check them out on Facebook.