Lubbock ice cream shop providing jobs for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 7:05 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Howdy Homemade Ice Cream Shop is more than just a sweet treat. It has nine locations total and just opened their doors in the West End Shopping Center on Friday.

The founder of Howdy Homemade says 3.2 million adults in Texas have special needs and many are unemployed. This ice cream shop gives anyone who has Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) a sense of independence through work.

“We wanted to create just an outlet and a space for these individuals to come and thrive and to create their own success in their own way,” General Manager Sebestyen Szenttornyay said.

For Szenttornyay, this is more than a job because he has two siblings with special needs.

“That was really one of the big catalysts for my father and I investing into this brand,” Szenntornyay said. “Wanted to create an opportunity for them because we see how proud they are when they have an opportunity to work and make a name for themselves, so we wanted to share that with the rest of the community as well.”

Howdy Homemade Ice Cream is also sold at 123 H-E-B locations, including the one in Lubbock. The faces on the pints of ice cream are employees, also known as Howdy Heroes. Soon, some of the faces on the pints of ice cream sold in the West End location will be Lubbock natives.

“These are all employees that are all around. We have a few employees on the pints that are from the Katy location, we have some that are from the Dallas location, then some of our pints pretty soon that we’re going to have in store are going to showcase some of our heroes,” Szenntornyay said.

In Lubbock, Howdy Homemade is partnering with High Point Village and the Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research. Founder of Howdy Homemade, Tom Landis, says this partnership is unlike any other.

“Something else that nowhere else in the nation is this kind of woven cohesive environment for people with IDD,” Landis said.

Landis says the business almost failed during the pandemic, but his faith kept him believing.

“This is not something I can do, but God can,” Landis said.

When you walk in, you are greeted with a loud “Howdy” from all employees. Landis says this is because you can’t say howdy in a bad mood.

“It’s one of those things I think that’s like riding a bike or dancing. It’s hard to do in a bad mood,” Landis says.

Szenttornyay says you’ll be able to find Howdy Homemade at all Texas Tech athletic sporting events this fall.

For more information on Howdy Homemade, you can click here.

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