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Success is survival for Ahwatukee sweet shops amid COVID-19

Some sweet staples are now showing another sad symptom of COVID-19: business melting away.

PHOENIX — If you’ve ever met Emmie Howell, you know you’re in for a treat.

She and her husband run Yoasis, a frozen yogurt shop on Chandler Boulevard and Desert Foothills in Ahwatukee.  They took over the longtime business a few years ago.

"This is like a family," Emmie says.

But the sweet staple now shows another sad symptom of COVID-19. They used to rely on off-site events and foot traffic from the school down the road.

"They’re all gone," Emmie says.

And soon, the shop might be too as business melts away.

"[We're] barely able to pay for the electricity," she said.

When word got out they might be forced to close, more customers started sprinkling in, some with signs saying 'Help Yoasis.'

"Oh my goodness," Emmie says. "It really touches my heart. I almost cried."

She says one man came by Friday and just gave her $200.  She said he didn't want to see the business go.  Emmie hopes support like that will carry them through or else she’ll have to let go.  They're also trying to negotiate with their landlord to see if they can catch a break over the next few months.

"I really thank God for the community," Emmie said.

A few miles away over on Ray Rd., Stephanie King is giving a whole new meaning to stir-crazy.

"Every morning I get here bright and early to start baking," King said.

She and her husband started running Smallcakes two months ago, just weeks before the pandemic changed everyday life.

"The biggest barrier is the stay at home order," she says.

But they’re turning what could be a recipe for disaster, into new opportunities.  They’re doing deliveries and even selling cupcake packs for families to make at home.

"There are still celebrations to be had, people are still having birthdays," Stephanie says. "We’re here for the community in that way too."

A reminder that something sweet can be essential to get through a trying time.

"We are going to do everything in our power to make sure we stay open," Stephanies says.

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