Howdy Homemade has been employing people with special needs and serving up treats at 4333 Lovers Lane since 2015.
Owner Tom Landis said COVID-19-related shutdowns had a major impact on their business, as with the entire local restaurant industry, and moving to a new location at 12300 Inwood Road will help them save thousands in rent. The new shop will open Sept. 23.
“We’ve had just a great business there. I think it’s so romantic to be on Lovers Lane on the Miracle Mile,” Landis said. “When COVID hit–many of our employees have compromised immune systems, and so we shut down, we shut down through a lot of the summer.”
Howdy Homemade supporter Jaxie Alt set up a GoFundMe page for the shop with a goal to raise $75,000.
“A super great Highland Park mom who also championed us at Dr. Pepper five years ago–I invented this Dr. Pepper ice cream, she headed up the marketing then, well she has her own business now…she’s really helped put Howdy together as a business…but then she also she kind of said, ‘hey, we should do this GoFundMe and help make it through these tough times.’” Landis said. “I’m stunned at the response at the support. It’s just incredible.”
He said he also hopes they’ll be able to get an ice cream truck to take their treats mobile.
“It just makes all the sense in the world,” Landis said of the ice cream truck. “We’ll be able to take that truck to all sorts of high schools–high schools in remote areas, high schools in economically-challenged areas, and how neat would it be to have their students with special needs to actual on the job training, have them be able to help serve the ice cream, say, at a football game…and do things that really involve the community by involving their special needs programs? Almost every high school has a program and then they’re just trying to figure out ways to find employment and I think of this as a really neat traveling classroom.”