Canada-based fast n’ fresh restaurant franchise Freshii will be opening Aug. 7 at the former Hong Kong Sunny location at 334 W. Bridge St. in New Hope.
The Freshii concept is built around healthy, fresh, custom-prepared, environmentally-sustainable meals and snacks served up fast in a clean, minimalist setting. Customers can choose from a wide variety of tasty, healthy items, or create their own salad, wrap, bowl or soup with dozens of fresh ingredients. The order can be even further customized with a choice of toppings and dressings.
Owners Stephen and Stefani Sheriff were married just last September, then opened the Flemington, N.J., Freshii in November. She grew up in Flemington, and he in Solebury Township.
“Figuring out where the first one was going to be was the hard part, we really spent time planning that out,” recalls Stefani. “Flemington really had a need for it.”
Sheriff said that her husband’s difficulty in finding affordable food alternatives while losing weight got him interested in healthier eating.
“My husband went through a transformation,” she explained. “He lost over a hundred pounds a couple of years ago.” That experience planted the seed of Stephen’s interest in nutrition, which is good, because neither Sheriff has experience in food service.
“I used to do hair, and my husband coached college tennis,” said Stefani.
Both Sheriffs are now firmly immersed in healthy eating, but opening a Freshii location in Stephen’s hometown completes the dream. The couple had their eye on the Hong Kong Sunny location even before the Chinese restaurant departed.
“We said to ourselves ‘Wow, this would be a perfect location for Freshii,’ and as soon as they left, we jumped on it,” Stefani remembers. “We went to look at the place, and it was a little scary, but we knew we had to have it no matter what.”
Stefani said she and her husband would be turning their full attention to the new location.
“We hired a manager for Flemington, and we’re going to focus on New Hope,” she said. “We knew the Cornerstone Club was going to move into their new location next door. We’re members, and we’ve tried to create a great partnership with them, and it’s only going to increase.”
Popular items at Freshii restaurants typically include salads, wraps, soups, burritos, juices, smoothies, frozen yogurt, and rice and noodle bowls. The company last year introduced “meal boxes” that include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks — a whole day’s worth of healthy eating. Available by subscription, customers can choose a 1-30 day program tailored to suit their dietary mission: bulking up, slimming down, eating clean or gluten-free, according to Freshii.
Stefani Sheriff said that while food delivery is all the rage these days, Freshii does it better.
“With all the dietary options a meal box offers, we think it will do well around here, especially with people who are really busy and don’t have time to cook,” she said.
And while Freshii may be a Canadian franchise, the Sheriffs have local roots, and currently live in New Hope’s Village 2 development.
“We hope to bring healthier food choices to the community, become a valued member, and grow together,” Stefani said.
The New Hope location places Freshi within a stone’s throw of McDonald’s, and that’s no accident. The site is not only convenient for local consumers, but Freshii seems to enjoy sticking it to McDonald’s every chance they get.
Freshii CEO Matthew Corrin recently wrote a letter to McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook challenging him to partner together in offering salads, quinoa, whole grain wraps and pressed juices at burger locations throughout the country. It’s difficult to imagine Micky D’s taking up the offer.
“Across the country, on our highways and campuses, in our malls and inner cities, our quick-serve options are dominated by McD’s, built on burgers, fries and sugar-laden soft drinks,” reads Easterbrook’s letter. “Your company professes to be concerned about providing healthy alternatives, but your track record demonstrates you have not figured out how to make healthy food that people want to buy.”