A hot day, with hundreds of people standing outside in the Texas sun—it couldn’t have been a better day to open an ice cream store in the Katy area. And sure enough, such a store …
A hot day, with hundreds of people standing outside in the Texas sun—it couldn’t have been a better day to open an ice cream store in the Katy area. And sure enough, such a store did.
Howdy Homemade Ice Cream at 20920 I-10 in Katy is known not just for the 18 flavors of ice cream it sells to the public. It is also known for hiring workers with special needs.
One of those employees is Trey Brandt, 25, who was born with Down Syndrome. The condition, according to the WebMD website, is genetic and causes physical and developmental issues. The issues can range from mild to severe.
Brandt said he has been with Howdy Homemade for a while after learning of it from his brother’s best friend. And while the store is known for employing those with special needs, friendliness and many smiles were what stood out at Thursday’s opening.
“I love it,” Brandt said. “I’ve made friends with a lot of people.”
The store opened with a rope cutting, befitting its membership in the Fulshear-Katy Area Chamber of Commerce. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner did the honors.
Turner said he “had to attend” the opening when he thought of how a store such as Howdy Homemade employs people with special needs. He said he hoped that the Katy-area location would be the first of many such locations in the Southeast Texas region.
The Katy area location is the third of three locations in the United States. The other two are in Dallas, which is the corporate headquarters, and Asheville, N.C.
The opening drew a large crowd not only because of the ice cream and who was serving it, but also because of one of the store’s supporters. Houston rap artist Trae the Truth has supported the business, among other charitable causes. Many fans attending the opening had their chance to meet and pose for photos with him.
Local realtor Tracy King’s firm, The Howdy Group, served as a sponsor. She said she contacted store owner Rodrick Batson a few weeks ago and asked if there was something her firm might do to help.
The sponsorship took a “Howdy helping Howdy” theme where The Howdy Group donated a dollar for each scoop of ice cream sold Thursday.
“I worked in special needs in my previous career, and absolutely loved it,” King said. “We love the company; we love their view and everything. We’re super-excited to be a part of it any way we can.”
King said she hoped to try the Dr Pepper Chocolate Chip ice cream. The HEB grocery store chain is expected to carry the flavor later this year on its shelves, Batson said.
Katy City Council Member Gina Hicks also attended the ceremony.
“I think it’s great. It’s a great turnout. I really love their mission. I have a couple of friends who are heroes here,” Hicks said, referring to the shop’s employees.
Hicks enjoyed a small cup of the Cold Brew and Cookies ice cream. The store features 18 flavors for customers to enjoy.
“It’s homemade daily, and you can’t beat that,” Hicks said.
Brandt spoke for his colleagues when looking at the many who came for ice cream.
“I think this opening is perfect,” Brandt said. “I love it. It’s Howdy Homemade. Welcome to Howdy, and come on in.”