A Dallas ice cream store has been saved from permanent closure—a result of the recent lockdown—thanks to a flood of generous donations from the community.
Many businesses have been hit hard during the pandemic, and small businesses like Howdy’s Homemade Ice Cream are no exception. Earlier this month, Howdy’s reluctantly announced that they would be closing their doors for good due to a lack of sales.
But when the community heard that Howdy’s would be forced to lay off their 11 employees, all of whom are adults with special needs, donations started pouring in.
“It feels like the Dallas Stars!” owner Tom Landis told CBS, overwhelmed by the response. “This is just an incredible time right now!”
One of the employees at Howdy’s, Kalin O’Brien, even stepped in to donate $3,000 out of his own pocket. “I thought I needed to do something,” O’Brien told the news outlet. After working at Howdy’s for 25 years and achieving the position of business manager, he said it only felt right to donate.
When asked about O’Brien’s gesture, Landis said, “It’s truly something that’s just so humbling. The guy has got a heart of gold.”
Howdy’s has received over $100,000 in donations in total, and as a result, Landis was able to open a smaller shop at a new location in Northern Dallas. And all 11 employees kept their jobs.
Texas restaurants have been permitted to begin operating at 75 percent capacity. Landis says he hopes this will lead to more foot traffic.
Donations are still pouring in. The ice cream shop’s GoFundMe page expresses the hope that Howdy’s can one day purchase an ice cream truck to enable them to offer their cool treats to the homes of those who cannot go out during the pandemic.
The employees of Howdy’s have been so grateful for the community’s donations, they even made a thank you video expressing what it means to them to work at Howdy’s.
“To me, Howdy’s means independence,” says Hannah Ostermeyer. “With my disability … I never thought I’d be able to have a job that I actually did myself.”
Coleman Jones, VP of Howdy’s Homemade, says working at Howdy’s has been a blessing.
“For supporting Howdy’s and supporting our employees, we want to thank y’all from the bottom of our hearts,” he said.