A frozen treat popular in Michoacan, Mexico, and the young woman who wants to create them in downtown Chandler, are inspirations behind a new business coming to 96 W. Boston St., Paletas Betty.
For now, Beatriz "Betty" Alatorre, 29, and her fiancé, Alvin Hong, 31, are working with contractors to remodel the former Boston Street Pilates, an exercise studio that closed this year. They expect to be making and serving artisan frozen treats from fresh fruits and spices by the end of July.
Hong said downtown Chandler's "buzz" and eclectic mix of homegrown businesses attracted them to the spot even though neither lives in the city. Alatorre is a Phoenix resident; Hong lives in Gilbert.
"There is growth and excitement in downtown Chandler even during the recession," he said. Paletas Betty will stay open evenings and weekends, catering to crowds that come for art walks, farmers markets and festivals.
Hong is a computer hardware design engineer with a master's degree in business form Arizona State University. Alatorre has a bachelor's degree in marketing from ASU and works in finance. But duplicating the fresh treats she remembers from her childhood in Michoacan has been her passion.
"It's humble food made from scratch with a lot of love and starts with fresh fruit. One of my favorites is beet juice mixed with orange juice; it is so refreshing and healthy," she said. Alatorre said the menu will change with the harvest seasons and she plans to offer some of her more exotic favorites like chili-lime cucumber paletas, hibiscus and aroz con leche similar to rice pudding. Prices have not been set.
Landlord Tom Bliss described the products as "smoothies on a stick."
There is at least one other business in Chandler that sells paletas - Flor De Michoacan at 528 N. Arizona Ave.
Bliss, Hong and Alatorre believe the frozen treats could eventually be as popular and mainstream as popsicles and cold coffee drinks.
"Our next step could be carts and street vendors, but the Number 1 goal is quality. We want people to be aware that our paletas are not mass produced," Alatorre said. For more information visit the Paletas Betty Website.