Yogurt Jungle is getting a new owner.
When the Maricopa shop opened in 2011, it was Sharilynn Hewitt’s second store (the first in Queen Creek). Economically, it was a challenging time to open a new business, but she was able to manage the ebb and flow. This fall, she turned the reins over to Michelle Harl Johnson and her husband Bo.
They officially take over Dec. 1 and are planning an open house Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is a chance to meet the new owners and even win prizes on Spin the Wheel.
“We want to grow it and advertise, advertise, advertise to get the name out there, so people know we’re here and we’re here to stay,” Michelle Johnson said.
Johnson, a manager at Chili’s in Casa Grande, has been in the food business since she was a teenager in Pennsylvania.
She worked three years at McDonald’s and then went on to Applebee’s and Chili’s. In the meantime, she moved to Arizona in 1998. Serious about a career in the business, she went to school, commuting twice a week to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas for three years to earn her bachelor’s degree and then picking up her master’s degree as well.
Her work and education were aimed at delivering food to an eager public.
“It’s my passion,” Johnson said. “It’s what I do. It’s what I know. It makes people happy and puts joy in their life.”
If You Go …
What: Yogurt Jungle open house
Who: New owners Michelle and Bo Johnson
When: Dec. 5, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: 21101 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite E1
When Hewitt started looking for a new owner of the nearly 5-year-old business, Michelle and Bo gave Yogurt Jungle a good look.
“It’s all about families,” Johnson said. “Families come here, single moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, everybody comes here. Everybody loves yogurt. Who doesn’t love yogurt? You can be healthy, you can be bad, you can be everything.”
The Johnsons moved to Maricopa three years ago.
“Yogurt Jungle will continue to be a family-owned and now locally-owned business,” Hewitt posted to her Facebook customers in announcing the sale.
Michelle Johnson, Yogurt Jungle
First job: McDonald’s at age 15
Favorite job: McDonald’s – it laid the base for my career.
Why this business: It’s fun. Kids love it. People love it.
Why Maricopa: It’s got a small-town feel but is close to the big city.
Greatest challenge: Commuting twice a week to UNLV
Best business advice you received: Follow your heart.
Best business advice you gave: If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.
Originally from: Erie, Pennsylvania
Education: Master’s degree, UNLV
Family: Husband Bo and two kids
Pets: Two cats and a dog
Food: Comfort food like pasta and pizza
Actor: Brad Pitt
Musical genre: I love it all.
Sports team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Charity: American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity
Travel destination: Puerto Rico
Books: Murder mysteries