Most everyone likes, and dare I say, loves ice cream. Most people would also agree that eating ice cream brings them a certain amount of happiness. Kari Crowe-Seher has used these common sentiments to form the backbone of her business and even took it a step further, creating the mission statement “To serve happy ice cream” to reflect it. I could try to explain just how passionate Kari is about this idea of spreading joy with her product, but it’s more poignant in her own words.
“Ice cream is a celebration, it’s a treat that we use to reward ourselves. When they come to Melt, they’re coming to share their happy moments with us. They want to indulge, or maybe they’re having a bad day and you want to use ice cream to lift their spirits and lift their mood. So it just lends itself to be a product of happiness.”
In typical entrepreneurial fashion, Ms. Crowe-Seher found a need in the market and decided to create the solution. Who knew that Fort Worth was missing something as vital local ice cream? Kari sure did.
“…anywhere my husband and I would travel to we always wanted to find a local ice cream shop and it just seemed that Fort Worth, as big as it is, didn’t have a local ice cream shop where they could have their celebrations and their frozen treats at. And so you just felt like that was a really big missing hole in the market.”
If you’ve kept up with our Innovator Spotlights in the past, you might be starting to notice a trend of local entrepreneurs looking to help others, especially in the midst of this pandemic, even as their own businesses might be struggling. This kind of care and compassion are part of what makes Fort Worth such a special place to live and start a business. Melt continues that trend with their Happiness for Heroes initiative.
“…our Happiness for Heroes program is essentially a package that we sell online for anybody anywhere to buy 20 scoops of ice cream for healthcare workers. And what we do is we contact local hospitals. Now they’re contacting us and we take and deliver coolers full of ice cream to these hospitals. So it gives our customers an opportunity to safely have an impact on those frontline workers.”
Perhaps what’s even cooler (no pun intended) than Melt’s efforts to help others is how many people have participated in those efforts. That popularity is a testament to how great of an idea Happiness for Heroes is.
“We’ve had people all across the country buy it, not just here locally, which has been really neat to see that people just really want to do something for other people at this time. And it’s just an easy opportunity for them to feel like they can make a difference, even if they may be immune compromised, they can’t get out or don’t have an opportunity to serve in any other way. So it’s really just been a wide variety of people that have come to the table and bought these scoops for our frontline workers.”
Many entrepreneurs’ goal is to start a business, gain some traction, and then expand their operations, or simply ‘nail it and scale it.’ However, oftentimes that goal never turns into reality as the many hurdles that plague startups become insurmountable. In the grand scheme of things, a small percentage of startups make it to the expansion phase. Melt Ice Cream is a part of that small percentage.
“We really expanded kind of out of necessity. We, when we moved to our store from Rosedale to Magnolia, we thought we would, you know, increase ourselves by 20%. And the, the day that we opened the door, we were so excited that we had, we’d built a bigger kitchen and we had more freezer space and we thought having more, more freezer space would allow us to stay in that kitchen and that location for quite some time. But within six weeks we’d grown out of that kitchen and our sales had really increased more than we expected.”
Knowing how to expand is certainly very difficult, but knowing where to expand can be equally as difficult. Location is vital to a brick and mortar store’s success, especially in the food industry. Kari seems to have found not one but two perfect fits.
“…we just made the decision to, to open additional storefronts in areas that we really felt represented our brand and, and that we could carry out our mission in. So in Bishop Arts it, it, the community and reminded us so much in the Near Southside just the way that the neighbors operate. And we just really felt like that was a good fit for us. And then in Sundance Square, it’s just a place and an opportunity where a lot of people that visit Fort Worth and want to get a taste of what Fort Worth really is, but they may not ever leave the Sundance Square area. So we have this opportunity to show them a little bit of the taste of local culture in Fort Worth.”
While on the topic of expansion, Kari had quite the optimistic outlook for Fort Worth and its creators and innovators, and I couldn’t agree more. The amount of incredible entrepreneurs in our city would surprise many, and their stories must continue to be told.
“…we’ve got a really great city and a really great city full of amazing and talented and creative chefs and entrepreneurs. So they need to be heard. They need to be known in Dallas. It doesn’t just have to be Fort Worth. And so I think it’s great for everybody.”
We didn’t want to spoil the entire episode for you. Want to hear more about Melt’s expansion efforts? Maybe you’re interested in Melt’s move to one of the oldest buildings in Fort Worth? Hear all the details and more by listening to the full episode of the Innovate Fort Worth podcast here.
Melt Ice Creams has three locations in the Metoplex; Fort Worth – Magnolia & Sundance Square, Dallas – Bishop Arts. For addresses and store hours click here.
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