‘Sophia’s’ Brings Frozen Yogurt Craze to Downtown Hilo

November 7, 2013, 11:31 AM HST
* Updated November 7, 8:23 PM
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After being inspired by the multi-colored yogurt shops dotting Los Angeles, Robert Parsons and wife Huixian decided to open their own frozen yogurt business on the Big Island.

The couple set their sites on the downtown Hilo area, and with the help of business partner Laurie Robertson, secured a location on Keawe street, just down the street from KTA and Garden Exchange.

Sophia's Yoghurt Bar offers a wide variety of toppings. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

Sophia’s Yogurt Bar offers a wide variety of toppings. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

Renovations and redecorating ensued, with the end result being a brightly colored establishment featuring five frozen yogurt machines, dispensing two flavors each.

A wide variety of toppings are available, and customers weight their treats before payment.

“Sophia’s Yogurt Bar” is named after the couple’s young daughter, and unlike many yogurt businesses in the islands, is 100% independently owned and operated.


“We looked into franchising, but the cost didn’t make sense,” said Huixian, who went on to explain that the decision turned out to be a good one, allowing the business more flexibility to “try out different toppings.”

10 different flavors are available at "Sophia's." Image courtesy M's photography.

10 different flavors are available at Sophia’s. Image courtesy M’s photography.


The freedom to choose their own product line has been a plus, according to Huixian, allowing the business to source what she described as a higher quality yogurt “made from pure milk, not milk powder.”

Flavors rotate, but currently include blueberry, triple chocolate, tropical colada, salted caramel pretzel, and more.

Toppings range from popular offerings like cookie crumbles and gummy bears to more unusual concoctions that occasionally find their way to the condiments bar. On this particular day, lilikoi fudge was the featured topping.


Huixian plans more fresh fruits to be available, and looks forward to experimenting with different condiments.

Sophia's Yoghurt Bar. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

Sophia’s Yogurt Bar. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

Fruit smoothies may make their way onto the menu soon, but the couple’s first priority is establishing their presence downtown. No advertising has been purchased yet, and according to Huixian, “People are still discovering us.”

Sophia’s Yogurt Bar is located at 277 Keawe Street, Hilo, HI 96720.

Current hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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