We were on a trip across north Raleigh running some errands the other week when I came across Sweet Spoons frozen yogurt in the Wakefield Commons shopping center.
A mere sighting of froyo can send my kids into a tizzy. And, frankly, it had been a long afternoon of errands and we were all a little hungry, so we popped in.
The frozen yogurt was yummy with the usual amount of flavors and array of toppings. But, what stood out from the usual froyo experience were the walls thick with notes and pictures created and displayed by past customers.
There were the scribbles of toddlers, angsty notes from teens, geometric shapes and patterns of all kinds, best wishes to a departing teacher, and impressive drawings and stick-figure creations.
The notes are five or 10 deep in places and hang down from the walls like drapes. The shop provides the note cards and markers, along with paper clips, which are used to fasten new notes to existing ones.
Owner Namie Choi tells me the first notes went up in November 2010 when the shop opened.
"We thought it would be nice for our customers to spend time together beyond just having frozen yogurt," Choi said. "It creates a lot of conversations and cute memories. It's an atmosphere I wanted to have in my store."
There are stories behind some of the cards, too. One was created by a couple on their first date. Months later, they returned, engaged, looking for that first-date memento, Choi said.
On another card, a boy lamented not making the basketball team. In response, other customers attached their own cards with inspirational notes like, "It's OK," or "You great anyway."
Sweet Spoons also hosts school events and sports team gatherings. Then, customers will make a long chain of cards with messages about their team or school.
Once we were done with our froyo, my kids and I made our own notes to hang on the wall - essentially a kind of community art project. Soccer was the theme for my soccer-loving girls. I made a field of flowers. We laughed and talked about our creations. Then, we hung them up.
"It adds a little more fun to the trip to the store," Choi said.
I'll agree with that.
Sweet Spoons is at 10750 Wakefield Commons Dr., Raleigh. A second location is at 772 W. Williams St. in Apex where you'll find a similar collection of customer notes and pictures.