Solomon Choi, who founded New York City’s self-serve frozen yogurt concept 16 Handles in 2008, died on Friday at 44. No cause of death was listed in his obituary. 

16 Handles grew to 40 locations internationally before Choi sold the franchise in 2022 to its largest franchiser, Neil Hershman, according to Restaurant Business Online. 

“We are deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of 16 Handles’ founder and former CEO Solomon Choi,” Hershman said in a statement. “He was a visionary who came to New York City in his 20s and founded this iconic frozen dessert brand. 16 Handles is where I got my personal start in franchising and I owe so much to Solomon for the opportunities, education, mentorship and friendship he provided me throughout the years.”

“Part of the mission statement for 16 Handles is to ‘create moments of happiness,’ and Solomon truly embodied this in his personal and professional life, always sporting a big smile and optimistic outlook,” Hershman said. “Our hearts go out to his family, friends and all those who loved him and worked with him during this incredibly difficult time.”

Choi also founded Greeno Products, a supplier of custom disposables for the food service industry, and started Jabba Brands in 2019 to advise, invest and operate food service companies, according to his obituary.

He was also an Angel Squad member at Hustle Fund, a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage startups.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Choi moved to the US and graduated from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business in 2002.

He was born in Seoul, South Korea, and lived in Manhasset, New York, at the time of his death. 

Choi met his wife, Hannah Chang Choi, in 2015 at a 16 Handles location on the Upper West Side, per the obituary.

In addition to his wife, Choi is survived by his 7-year-old and 4-year-old children, his parents and two sisters. 

He was scheduled to appear on a panel about the future of digital transformation in the limited-service segment, according to his LinkedIn. 

“Solomon’s legacy will live on forever through the memories of those who had the opportunity to know him and the impact that he had on countless lives,” his obituary noted. “Solomon will be remembered for his relentless optimism, his discipline and fearlessness, and his Michael Jackson dance moves. Most importantly, he was committed to loving his wife and children to the best of his ability and will be remembered as the world’s best husband and daddy.”

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