HAVELOCK | Ricky Jackson Jr. didn’t see a lot of opportunities to climb the ladder in his previous job, so he decided to build one himself and become his own boss by opening New Flavor in Havelock.

“There was no room to grow, so I got the idea to create my own playing field,” he said of becoming a business owner.

New Flavor’s focus is frozen yogurt, but this isn’t just ordinary frozen yogurt, Jackson said. He offers various flavors, with vanilla and chocolate as standards but also strawberry-banana and raspberry-pomegranate are options.

And the dessert business features more than 70 toppings, including everything from basic chocolate syrup, Skittles or Reese’s to a variety of nuts and even fresh fruit.

“It’s the most toppings of any frozen yogurt bar,” he said. “That was on purpose. People like the variety.”

So far, he said, people have responded.

“It’s getting busier and busier,” he said. “People are still finding out that we’re here, but it’s definitely taking off.”

Customers create their own cups of yogurt, selecting the flavor and toppings as well as whatever portion size they wish. The cup is weighed, with each customer paying 48 cents per ounce.

“You can get as little or as much as you want,” Jackson said.

Lee Ann Sinclair said she is a frequent customer.

“It’s my favorite place. I stop here every time I come to town,” said Sinclair, who lives in the Adams Creek community. “It’s friendly and they have great yogurt.”

Jackson opened New Flavor in the fall, so he could get accustomed to running the business and learn what he would need before the warmer spring and summer season when he expects business to really pick up.

“I had a chance to work out the kinks,” he said, adding that he is planning what he called a grand re-opening in the spring.

He has already hosted events for the Boys and Girls Club as well as birthday parties, church groups and even business staff meetings. Gift cards are available as well.

He said he wants the establishment to be a destination.

“I think the city needed something like this,” he said. “People are excited.”

He points to the outdoor seating that is available, cards, board games and coloring books for the kids, the windows on the front that offer a large view of the outdoors and the tropical interior design by ABC Signs that offers “windows” that show tropical scenes.

“The plan is to have a place where people like to come and hang out,” he said. “We have things here where people don’t have to rush in and rush out. They can sit for 30 minutes or an hour and just enjoy themselves. That’s one of the best feelings I can have.”

Jackson is a Havelock High School graduate who admits he’s been a few places before finding his way back to the city in which he grew up.

“There’s nothing like it,” he said. “You go around and see the world, but you come back. I love Havelock.”

New Flavor is located at 320 U.S. 70 West. It’s open from noon to 9 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays and 2 to 9 p.m. Sundays. Information is also available on the business’ Facebook page.