By Eric Wilson-Edge
Scroll down the Facebook page for Twisties Frozen Yogurt and you’ll notice a theme. Lots of people “like” Twisties and not just for its fro-yo. Multiple people express their thanks to owner Chad Thomas and his family for their support. You see, Twisties is big on giving back to the community.
“I love the kids,” says Thomas. “Some kid is raising money to go to state and I’ll typically give them a few bucks.” Twisties opened nearly three years ago. Since then Thomas estimates he’s donated more than $40,000 to various causes. That number includes gift cards and fundraisers held at the store.
Thomas grew up in the area. He spent his early years in Lacey before moving to Tenino. “All of this was logging roads,” says Thomas. He points out the window to the Lowe’s off College and Yelm where the frozen yogurt shop is located. “We used to stable our horses nearby. Back then you could also ride right into town.”
Much has changed since Thomas was a kid, but his philosophy hasn’t. Chad and his wife Debbie have two children. Their daughter just auditioned for her first movie role and their son is a budding soccer star. “I didn’t have a whole lot of money growing up,” says Chad. “I think now that I’m in a better position I want to help as much as I can.”
Chad Thomas loves soccer. He played for 12 years and has been coaching for at least 14. The first thing you notice when you enter Twisties is the frozen yogurt. The second are the pictures. Thomas has a wall dedicated to the various teams and people he’s worked with through the years.
“I work so much, Monday through Sunday,” says Thomas. “When I coach work is gone, it’s all about soccer.” Thomas talks about his players like they were his own children which isn’t surprising when you consider the history. “I’ve been coaching some of these kids since second grade. I raised them in soccer.”
Thomas exudes calmness. We chat like we’ve been friends for years. There are no awkward pauses or prolonged silences. People in customer service should be friendly but that’s not always the case. It’s a skill, one Thomas possesses. “I had a lady come in here the other day. She saw the soccer photos and we started talking about soccer then horses then shooting. It went on like that for quite a while.”
Twisties is a cozy place. I sit in a large overstuffed chair. The sun is out, natural light warms my arms and back. Chad got the idea to start Twisties during a vacation in Texas which is funny when you consider he doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. “We went out to a yogurt store and my family loved it,” says Thomas. “I just watched my family have fun and watched other families have fun.”
It’s no surprise that Chad and his wife tried to recreate that experience with Twisties. “We like to treat others like family,” says Thomas. A few customers trickle in during our interview. It’s early and business won’t pick up until later. Thomas strikes up a conversation with each person. A few are regulars, some are new but you wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking.
5500 Corporate Center Loop SE
Lacey, WA 98503
Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.