Matt and Melissa Kenny opened Sweet Melissa's in 2009 as a soft serve ice cream shop in Ithaca, NY. Matt had grown up in Syracuse, NY and brought his parents knowledge of the ice cream world with him (they'd had a shop up there for 40 years) but quickly realized how Ithaca was quite different from Syracuse. Many of their customers inquired about non-dairy options, so the following year Melissa started making a non-dairy ice cream out of coconut milk. This took some time, as it was made with the smallest and oldest soft serve machine they could afford, but it quickly became a success in the community. In 2011, they replaced this tiny machine with a 1.5 gallon batch freezer (commercial grade ice cream maker) and began making both non-dairy AND dairy ice cream out of it!
Unfortunately, because of how the laws are in the ice cream world in most states, Melissa couldn't actually make the dairy ice cream completely from scratch. Also, she had never actually made ice cream from scratch in her life, so luckily the dairies they bought their soft serve mix from had a hard ice cream mix to make ice cream with. This is where this Kickstarter comes in. Since 2010, Melissa has gained immense experience with making ice cream and the Sweet Melissa's hard ice cream brand has become quite successful in Ithaca. So much so, that they are moving their production facility to Trumansburg so they can actually have space for an industrial pasteurizer, the piece of equipment needed to make it all from scratch by law. They will also be working with Regional Access to get their local dairy!
This piece of equipment alone is $15,000 so every penny of the Kickstarter funds will go to the pasteurizer. If there are any additional funds, they will be able to afford a larger batch freezer as well, and can start producing the ice cream in 3 gallon batches. This will cut Melissa's production time in half!
In addition to the production kitchen, Sweet Melissa's long time manager of Sweet Melissa's, Sarafina Payne, and Melissa will open up a cafe called How Sweet It Is! How Sweet It Is will serve the house made ice cream and Copperhorse Coffee! This is located at 44 E Main Street in Trumansburg, NY.
Follow How Sweet It Is on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @howsweet607 for renovation and business updates!
Risks and challenges
The pasteurizer will not be available immediately upon How Sweet It Is' opening, so the transition of making the ice cream from a mix to completely from scratch will take several months.
As soon as we get the funds, we will put in the order for the pasteurizer through Micro Dairy Designs out of Smithsburg, MD and the order and set up time is six weeks.
Also, due to the nature of ice cream (you know-- melty), all rewards with ice cream in them will need to be picked up at How Sweet It Is. There will be a limited number of ice cream flavor options to choose from as well. There are a couple non ice cream options that we can send in the US though.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)