The next time you’re on Cotton Row in Cleveland look for the two teachers serving frozen yogurt.
Suzette Matthews and her fiancée Matty Bengloff decided to open up Delta Dairy Frozen Yogurt in April to introduce the region to a dessert that’s easily found in other college towns in Mississippi.
“I dream of yogurt every night,” says co-owner Matthews.
“I never thought I’d be making yogurt in small-town Mississippi,” Bengloff says.
The New York City native graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas with a finance degree and began working for Teach for America (TFA) a national teacher corps for public schools in low-income communities.
After teaching math in Arkansas, Bengloff moved to Mississippi to work on staff for the organization as director of district/alumni partnerships.
Matthews grew up in Jackson and also began working for TFA first as a teacher then as a development director after earning a psychology degree from Texas Tech University.
Matthews says one of their favorite places to visit on the weekends was YaYa’s Frozen Yogurt on Court House Square in Oxford after a long day of tailgating and football at the University of Mississippi.
“Matty would make us go there two or three times a day,” Matthews says. Somewhere in between spoonfuls they decided to open a frozen yogurt place of their own.
“We’re doing our own thing,” Bengloff says. “We wanted to make it specific and thought it would be fun for Cleveland.” It will also bring hiring opportunities for many local high school and Delta State University students.
Delta Dairy’s home is on the ground floor of the historic five-story Grover Hotel, which sat vacant for decades until its recent transformation into a condo residential space by area developer Raymond Huerta. Matthews and Bengloff painted the exterior and added a neon sign. The dining area consists of exposed brick walls and wood floors.
“We went to so many places to do research, very delicious research,” Bengloff says, adding that he’s always wanted own his own business. “It’s been really neat how many people we’ve only known a few years have walked us through the legal and marketing side of things.”
Bengloff says the city of Cleveland has been very supportive of the new business and Delta Dairy wants to give back by doing fundraisers for local churches, public schools, and after school events. Bengloff said the mayor and other local businessmen helped him walk through the planning stages step by step.
Delta Dairy offers more than 12 seasonal flavors from vanilla to sea salt caramel pretzel and more than 35 toppings including color-themed options for Cleveland High School, Delta State and other area schools.
Customers range from young families to DSU students on a study break to retired Deltans eager to embrace the fad food.
“We’re able to sit and visit with them and hear all the old Bolivar County stories,” Bengloff says. “Families say its really nice to go out on a Sunday afternoon or after dinner.”
Yogurt isn’t just for women, Bengloff and Matthews say. They see many male customers cautiously trying the dessert along with their wives or girlfriends.
“Most of what we serve is low fat or no fat,” Matthews says. Aside from being low in fat, yogurt has half the calories of a serving of ice cream. Delta Dairy also includes fresh fruit at their topping bar. For the less health-conscious customer they also have Cheetos.
“We are definitely still learning,” Bengloff says. “We’re working really hard to create a welcoming environment and we want a really good product. Even if we have to take a hit we want something that tastes great and makes people want to come back.”
Delta Dairy is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. during the week and noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays. To find out more visit the Delta Dairy Frozen Yogurt page on Facebook.