A pair of entrepreneurs have rolled ice cream as the focus for their first brick-and-mortar shop in Branson.
Laiken Avery, co-owner of Yolo Rolled Ice Cream LLC, along with fiance Cole Crutcher, who she said just proposed Saturday on her 20th birthday, are estimating an early January opening for their new venture at 2005 W. 76 Country Blvd., Ste. 207. However, Avery said the launch date has been moved around several times, adding she still believes this month is possible.
“We’d really like to get open for Christmas,” she said.
Avery said the couple signed a three-year lease for an undisclosed rate with Commercial One Brokers LLC for the 1,500-square-foot shop in the Vista Plaza shopping center.
Rolled ice cream has origins in Thailand as a street food called stir-fried ice cream. It’s made by pouring a liquid ice cream base onto a very cold surface, mixing in any toppings, then spreading it out in a thin layer and using a spatula to push strips of the ice cream into rolls.
Yolo, which refers to the saying, “you only live once,” also will serve gelato, milkshakes and smoothies, Avery said, noting she and Crutcher fell in love with rolled ice cream while on a trip to Florida earlier this year.
“We had it and it was the best ice cream we’ve ever had,” she said, adding it spurred the idea to bring the concept to Branson. “It’s ice cream like you’ve never had before.”
Startup costs for the six-employee shop are estimated at $80,000, Avery said, adding most of their funding is coming from savings earned through past business ventures.
Yolo isn’t the first business for Avery or Crutcher, she said.
“I started my first business when I was 14,” Avery said of Laiken’s Custom Creations, in which she produced custom art on products such as tumblers, shirts and tables.
She said Crutcher, currently a senior at College of the Ozarks, previously fixed phones with his iPhone MD LLC company. Past ventures the two co-owned were Massthetics LLC, an online clothing company, and power washing business Hydroclean Exteriors LLC. However, the ice cream shop is now their lone professional focus, Avery said.
Even though their first shop is yet to open, Avery said she already has expansion on her mind.
“Our goal for 2024 or 2025 would be to open one in Springfield,” she said.
Plans for the Finley Ridge apartment complex in the growing community of Ozark call for four buildings, four stories apiece, with 48 units each for a total of 192, as well as a 1,500-square-foot shared community and fitness room.