Interview with Ann Nguyen, Owner of Sugar Berry

Ann Nguyen, owner of Sugar Berry, is an entrepreneur in Lansing who never thought she would end up in the food business. Sugar Berry is a dessert shop that is known for their low-fat and yet sweet frozen yogurt, a simple treat that gives customers the option to add as many flavors and toppings. With its grand opening In November 2010, seven years later Sugar Berry is now open in 3 different locations with over 11,000 followers on social media. Nguyen’s spark in wanting to open a yogurt store occurred when she went on a trip to California 8 years ago with her husband.  There they both visited a frozen yogurt shop that was yet inviting, comforting and delicious. That trip motivated Nguyen to open up a frozen yogurt shop in Lansing, MI.

How did you plan to open up Sugar Berry?

It took me a couple years because I live in a place where it was so cold. I mean, almost half the year it was very cold. I didn’t know how frozen yogurt would sell around here, but then I told myself that I would never know if I didn’t do it. So I took the next step and told myself, “let’s just do this.”

What were some obstacles that you had to go through? Did you struggle starting the business?

Yes, absolutely. Builders, contracts etc. I went through hoops. Things were pushed behind. Thinking that it’d be open in October but it got pushed to November.  We had to go through rules and regulations. No doubt about it. We had to follow guidelines, and like I said, it was my first store. It was hard. I didn’t know what I was doing. I jumped in there blind and just took it one day at a time. I took a risk. I didn’t know anything but I asked a lot of questions.

You have lots of followers on Social Media. What was it like when you first realized your gaining lots of followers?

It took a lot of work for that. It really did. I remember the day that I hit 100. I thought I was in heaven. I called everyone. 11,000 followers – I don’t even know how it happened to tell you the truth. But it was a lot of work. I had a great team of people that helped me work on it. From 100, I was jumping off the roof. It was huge for me.

How did you get through the process of starting up Sugar Berry?

Now that I look back into my journey with Sugar Berry, it was a hard journey. I have a group of fantastic employees and they’re there for me every step of the way. If it wasn’t for them: Never. I couldn’t do it. I am surrounded by so many supportive people. So many people who were ready and willing to say “Hey, I’m here for you and I’m going to help you.” And they still do. That’s what makes me, me. There was no way I could do it by myself. I had a big support group and that’s how I got here. But just don’t give up. To young entrepreneurs you are going to run into so many things. Whether like it or not, you will. It’s going to happen. But just keep going.

What type of advice would you give young entrepreneurs or people that want to start up their own business?

On a personal level: You would never know if you don’t do it. If you have a dream, go for it. Just do your best. It is a lot of hard work. Don’t get me wrong, I fell on my knees crying going into business. Not seeing your family, not knowing where your business is going to hit. It’s hard, but you gotta keep going. There was so much money invested in it, time invested in it, sweat and tears invested in it. Don’t give up. That’s my motto: Don’t give up, keep going.

Do you think all of that was worth it?

Absolutely. Right now, I love to be home with my kids. I love having time with them. Being my own boss, it gives me time. The payoff for me was I could go home and spend time with my kids. One of the biggest reasons that I wanted to start my own business was because I wanted that time with my kids. They grow up so fast and that time you get to spend is limited.  Time is very fragile; they do need me in their life. And that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing – it’s for them.

What are some of the unique products that Sugar Berry has to offer?

I know a lot of people like the popping bobas. To me, that seems to be very unique because you don’t see it everywhere. My bar always tries to bring new things in. If it’s a holiday, we try to get Valentine’s items. Our main flavors are always there. We try to change it up a little. We do bring things in and out. The flavors are always changing and the topping bars are always changing just to give people a lot of variety.

What are some of your future goals for Sugar Berry?

Sugar Berry does very well, but what I would maybe think about in the future is more smoothies. Something more different like fresh smoothies such as Avocado smoothies. That’s just an idea but nothing is written in stone yet.

For more information on Sugar Berry

Address: 5451 W Saginaw Hwy, Lansing, MI 48917

Phone: (517) 321-0177

Headshot photo provided by Ann Nguyen

Photos taken by Tina Nguyen

About The Author

Tina Nguyen

Tina is a freelance filmmaker and photographer based in Lansing, Michigan. After graduating from Everett High School, the young creator is pursuing her career at Lansing Community College to earn a degree in Photographic Imaging. Throughout Tina’s career, she has promoted self positivity and creativity through her social platforms and has been involved in organizations that influence young individuals to achieve their goals despite of any hardships in their lives.

Categories: Business, Food

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