Chill on the Hill, which sells frozen yogurt, opened Nov. 17 at 5 E. Highland Ave. in the former Balance Fitness Center space. (Photo by Sally Hults)

by Sally Hults

A new store, Chill on the Hill, which sells frozen yogurt, opened Nov. 17 at 5 E. Highland Ave. in the former Balance Fitness Center space. Co-owners Leslie Newbold, 44, and Alison Shoemaker, 45, had been college friends. Neither woman had food industry experience but Shoemaker, who has a financial/business background, wanted to open a store. She asked Newbold, a graphic designer, for help. Eventually Shoemaker asked Newbold to join her in the business.

Why open a frozen yogurt store in Chestnut Hill? “We both have children who complained about having to drive to Manayunk every time they wanted frozen yogurt. Now the kids work at the store. It’s a family establishment,” said Newbold. ”Yogurt has many benefits such as probiotics with live and active cultures. It aids in digestion and may protect against certain cancers.”

Frozen yogurt is lower in fat than ice cream. It is a fermented food that is made by adding the live and active cultures to milk. The probiotics break down the lactose in the milk, so that the lactose-intolerant can enjoy a dairy product without discomfort.

Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, protein and vitamin D. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, yogurt is a better source of calcium than ice cream. Yogurt can boost immunity and enhances the body’s ability to recover from infection. “We buy the yogurt pre-mixed for now. Eventually we would like to make it on-site,” Newbold said.

The first step is to take a 16-ounce cup and choose your yogurt. The five stainless steel Electrofreeze machines on a back wall each hold two flavors of yogurt. Flavors range from fruit (pomegranate raspberry, mango sorbet and strawberry) to cookies and cream, peanut butter, Dutch chocolate, alpine vanilla, peppermint stick, sea salt caramel pretzel and original tart (lemon vanilla). Flavors are rotated periodically, with coffee and roasted marshmallow coming soon.

Next you choose one of the 30 toppings. Selections include raspberries, coconut, strawberries, mango, peaches and pineapple. “The Reese’s Pieces, Heath Bar Crunch and Chinese Mochis sweet rice cakes are really popular toppings,” said Newbold. Also available are sour worms, M&M’s, cookie dough, brownie bites, hot fudge and hot caramel, to name a few.

Finally there are sauces to consider. Choices include peanut butter, butterscotch, honey, marshmallow, Nutella, molasses and maple syrup. Sprinkles are also available. Your concoction then gets weighed. The price is based on the weight at 49 cents per ounce. The average price is about $4.

You have the option of eating inside, either at tables in the back of the store or at a small counter with three stools in the front window facing Highland Avenue. There is also a bench outside the store. Newbold lives with her family in Plymouth Meeting, and Shoemaker lives in Wyndmoor with her family.

Newbold and Shoemaker had originally planned to open during the summer, but they were delayed when the building’s previous tenant, Balance, was delayed in moving to its new location because of a zoning problem. In fact, the Chill on the Hill owners wound up with their own zoning issues, not to mention a health department review and questions raised by neighbors. And then came Hurricane Sandy, which made the delay even longer. Chill on the Hill did respond to neighbors’ concerns by installing a high-tech security system and putting a dumpster in back of the building.

The store is open seven days a week. For more information, call 267-323-2380 or visit