Supporters of a North Texas ice cream shop are raising money to save it.
Howdy Homemade Ice Cream opened in 2015, primarily hiring adults with special needs. When the pandemic hit, the shop was forced to close for five weeks and since it reopened, traffic is down, according to the owner.
“I don’t want to let them down and I feel like that’s the hardest part about this,” owner Tom Landis said. “I just don’t want to let COVID or anything beat us.”
Landis is moving Howdy Homemade from its current location on Lovers Lane to a smaller shop at 12300 Inwood Road in Dallas to save money on rent.
Meanwhile, a supporter of the shop launched a Go Fund Me page to help cover moving costs.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the page had raised just over $21,000 towards its $75,000 goal since it launched on Friday.
Jaxie Alt hoped to raise enough money to pay for operations and an ice cream truck to bring Howdy Homemade directly to customers.
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“You come for the ice cream, but you stay for the employees. I've seen adults with Down Syndrome, with autism, with physical disabilities be given chances that they never would in other cases," Alt said. “It’s a really special place and we just can't let it close."
“It’s been really hard, but we are trying to get out of this really fast,” said Coleman Jones, who has worked at Howdy Homemade since 2015.
Jones said he’s passionate about his work and hopeful the small business could navigate the rest of the pandemic successfully.
“I love it because I get to work with great and fun employees. Also, we get to interact with the best customers and that’s really important to me,” Coleman said.
Another employee, Lindsey Riddel, said she has been unable to work during the pandemic. She’s staying home to protect her father, who is immunocompromised.
Riddel said she wanted people to know how much the shop means to her.
“It’s like my second home, they’re like my family,” Riddel said.
She said she looked forward to returning to the new location once it’s safe.
“I love working there, it’s amazing. I love serving customers and the kids and seeing smiles on their faces when they first come into the store,” she said.