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Cool Down with Local Culture

by Cody Moore, photography by Kayla Broadway

In January of 2018, Jonesboro residents Brett and Selena Barber took over ownership of Local Culture, a beloved local frozen yogurt destination located within the city.

Brett, a native of Dallas, and Selena, a native of Harrisburg, have spent a majority of their lives living in Jonesboro. Brett, who co-owns Westbrook & Reeves Real Estate and hosts the morning show on Mix 106.3, moved to Jonesboro in 1984. Selena, who recently accepted a marketing position with Arvest Bank and runs her own Rodan + Fields business, moved to Jonesboro to attend Arkansas State University in 1986 and has called the city home ever since.

Though the couple was already busy with work at the time, when former Local Culture owner James McDaniel announced that he’d be selling the popular frozen yogurt establishment on Southwest Drive in 2017, the Barbers immediately saw a business opportunity. The couple closed on the business in 2017 and officially took over in 2018.

McDaniel also owned a Local Culture located on Red Wolf Boulevard, but that location had previously closed.

“The opportunity just presented itself,” said Brett. “The previous owner listed it for sale, and we were able to come to an agreement. We stopped by for yogurt on a regular basis, so we were somewhat familiar with the business and we thought it’d be fun to operate the store, and it certainly is.”

Since taking over Local Culture, the couple has streamlined some of the daily processes while keeping the store’s employees, as well as hiring new employees to help rebrand the establishment. Though they’ve made some changes, it still offers the same products and service that the public has grown to love throughout the years.

Each day, Local Culture serves 10 different frozen yogurt flavors, ranging from the highly popular Triple Chocolate flavor to more unique flavors like Watermelon Sorbet. There are always gluten-free, dairy-free, low-fat and sugar-free options available, as well.

“We have regular flavors that we always have like Triple Chocolate, Tahitian Vanilla and Sea Salt Caramel Pretzel,” said Brett. “The rest are a combination of other flavors that have proven popular over the years.”

“Sea Salt Caramel Pretzel with pecans has been my favorite since even before we owned the store,” added Selena. “If I’m trying to go dairy-free, the coconut milk flavor is a perfect guilt-free treat, as well.”

Other daily favorites include the gluten-free Strawberry Sensations, Yellow Cake Batter, Southern Butter Pecan, Cookies & Cream and a new fan-favorite, Espresso. Aside from an array of daily frozen yogurts, multiple fresh toppings are also available daily for guests to customize their own frozen creations.

“We’re always slicing fresh strawberries and preparing blueberries for the more health-conscious, but kids and adults love our candy and cereal toppings,” said Selena. “Boba, small edible juice-filled pearls, which I had never heard of until we bought the store, are highly popular, too.”

Each day, Local Culture employees prepare each featured frozen yogurt flavor and restock all yogurt toppings. If guests don’t know which daily flavor they want to purchase, the employees will offer a sample of whichever flavor the customer is interested in trying.

“We always provide free samples of every flavor guests want to try, so there’s no way you can go wrong,” said Brett. “I love our chocolate the most, and our strawberry is a close second.”

Though guests can create their own yogurt concoctions in-store in a cup or waffle cone, Local Culture also offers take-home frozen yogurt pre-packs for customers to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes.

“The 16-ounce pre-packs are just a way for someone to take their favorite flavor home and enjoy at a later time,” said Brett. “They’re very reasonably priced at $4.99, and right now they’re buy one, get one free.”

Something that McDaniel began offering at Local Culture that the Barbers have continued is Waffle Cone Wednesday.

“The previous owner actually started this great special,” said Selena. “We’ve tweaked it a bit, and now on Wednesday customers can create any cone they want as full as they would like, and they only pay half the regular price.”

Usually, guests would be able to prepare the yogurt themselves, but because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Local Culture employees have to prepare the yogurt for all customers for sanitation purposes. If guests don’t want to sit inside of the establishment and enjoy their frozen yogurt, outdoor seating is also available and delivery options are made possible by Bite Squad.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, many local businesses have had to up their social media game in order to keep customers aware of their current services. Selena credits one of Local Culture’s most dedicated workers for keeping the Jonesboro community updated on the business’ daily specials and announcements.

“Our social media has been a major component of our marketing,” said Selena. “It has been managed by Sarah Hall, who worked at the store when we purchased it. She’s fantastically creative and deserves a lot of credit for keeping our name in the mind of our customers. We have a lot of positive support for the business as result of her efforts.”

“We’ve had great success serving our community, and we appreciate all of the support provided to locally-owned businesses like ours,” added Brett.

Local Culture, located at 900 Southwest Drive, Suite A, is currently open Monday through Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. To view the daily yogurt menu, specials and to see all updates and announcements, find Local Culture on Facebook or call (870) 275-7585.