- Howdy Homemade ice cream shop employs people with disabilities.
- And exactly because of that, people are loving it dearly.
- When it faced closure due to the pandemic, the community rallied together to save it.
An ice cream shop in Dallas, Texas, is not only famous for the delicious and authentic flavored ice cream, but also for their wonderful crew. But COVID-19 proved to be very challenging.
Howdy Homemade, which employs people with special needs, received a surprise gift on Friday — a $50,000 cash assistance.
Its founder Tom Landis recalled how he started employing differently-abled people after he got inspired by someone he met who impressed him.
“It was a real busy night at one of my other restaurants when I met Coleman (Jones), and he just immediately jumped in and helped serve food and was super friendly,” Landis told TODAY. “I called his mom up the next day and said, ‘Hey, you know, I want to hire this guy.’ He has so much potential, written all over him, and leadership.”
Now, Coleman is the face and the Vice President of the store that has been open for five years, until pandemic came and challenged their resilience.
Like many other businesses, they were severely affected by the restrictions in place to control the virus. They closed temporarily to ensure Coleman’s and all the crew’s health and safety. Although they soon reopened, the influx of customers have dwindled so much which had them facing the threat of permanent closure.
Tom Landis almost gave up but whenever he thought of his amazing crew and the joy they brought to the community, he just can’t.
That’s when people rallied to save Howdy Homes and raised money for the shop. Tom’s friend started a GoFundMe page and earned not only over $100k but also the spotlight.
In TODAY’s Hoda & Jenna show, the virtual viewers cheered on Tom and Coleman’s sweet success. Among the virtual audience was Marcus Lemonis, CNBC’s “The Profit” host, who gave them a $50,000 cash aid.
“I spend my whole career, my whole life, really helping businesses get to the next level and it’s clear to me that you guys are prepared to get to that next level,” he said. “I would like to give you a $50,000 grant specifically used to hire more people to grow what you’re trying to do in the Dallas community.”
Tom and Coleman were very happy with the surprise and plan to use it to expand the business.
“It’s humbling,” said Tom, who thought the surprise gift was “unbelievable.”
“We’ve had multiple times where you just stop and tear up because it’s no longer our restaurant. It’s truly the City of Dallas’ restaurant,” he said, and to him, the credit all goes to Coleman and the rest of the shop’s amazing staff.