Struggling ice cream shop that employs people with special needs gets surprise grant

Howdy Homemade in Dallas, Texas is known for its original, delicious flavors, but also its public service mission.

[Oct. 9, 2020: Kerry Breen]

A beloved ice cream shop that has been struggling to survive the pandemic earned a sweet surprise live on TODAY Friday morning — a $50,000 grant.

Howdy Homemade, located in Dallas, Texas, is known for its original, delicious flavors, but also its public service mission. All of its employees are individuals with special needs.

Founder Tom Landis said that he was inspired to open the store after meeting one person who thoroughly 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 explained on 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, Jones is the face of the sweet store.

"I was blessed that I ultimately get the opportunity to not only be employed for Tom, but to also be an asset where you're going to blossom," Jones said.

"If I'm behind the counter and someone comes in, they have a visual look of disappointment on their face," Landis said. "They want to see Coleman, they want to see my crew. They're doing what they do, and frankly, they do it better than me."

When the pandemic hit, like so many other businesses, Howdy Homemade was severely affected, closing temporarily to ensure the safety of its employees. Even after reopening, customer traffic was slow and catering orders were limited, leading to the risk of permanent closure.

This Brighter Side of News post courtesy of Today.

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Joseph Shavit
Joseph ShavitSpace, Technology and Medical News Writer
Joseph Shavit is the head science news writer with a passion for communicating complex scientific discoveries to a broad audience. With a strong background in both science, business, product management, media leadership and entrepreneurship, Joseph possesses the unique ability to bridge the gap between business and technology, making intricate scientific concepts accessible and engaging to readers of all backgrounds.