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Local Ice Cream Success Story Started With a Dream

Tyler Mannix didn’t grow up thinking that he would own an ice cream shop someday. Tyler was building a solid career for himself at a local software company when he came up with the idea to open an ice cream shop. The idea wouldn’t go away.  

Key to Success—Managing Risk

Tyler started 402 Creamery in 2017. For several years he continued to work his full-time software job to support his family. He made ice cream on the side as his second job at night. Retaining his day job was the first way he reduced risk during the ramp up of the new business. It took a lot of hours to do both!

His first location in Lincoln was downtown on N Street, where he shared space with another food business. Sharing space was the second strategy Tyler used to reduce his startup risk and sharing space increased customer traffic. 

Key to Success—Quality & Creativity

Tyler’s dream from the beginning was to make ice cream from scratch with local ingredients when possible and to have unique blends of flavors. His philosophy is stated on the first line on his website: “Small batch, super premium, made from scratch ice cream.”

402 Creamery has developed a very loyal customer base by providing Signature Flavors that are available year around and by introducing new Seasonal Flavors. If a new flavor is a big hit, Tyler adds it to his always available Signature Flavor list. Some of his ten Signature Flavors include: Cinnamon Snickerdoodle, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Lemon Blueberry, Mint Chip and Monster Cookie (#1 seller). His current Seasonal Flavors include Pumpkin Scream Cheese, Creepy Crawlers, Twix-Or-Treat and Say Cheez (peanut butter ice cream with Cheez-it crunch and fudge brownies).

Key to Success—Adaptability

402 Creamery weathered the Covid pandemic by providing carry-out pints and rolling out online ordering and delivery via Grub Hub. In addition, they stayed in touch with their customer base using social media. Tyler was very humbled by the support he received from his customers and the community during this period.  “A lot of gift cards were purchased by customers and the community at large.  Lincoln has a generous heart and that kept us going” Tyler said. 

Key to Success—Finding a Financial Provider

Like many small businesses, Tyler needed startup capital to purchase equipment, mixers, and freezers. He turned to Community Development Resources (CDR) (www.cdr-nebraska.org) in Lincoln for an SBA Microloan. CDR was also able to assist Tyler with early start-up advice and counseling. CDR loan officer Jeff Breunig identified a few characteristics about Tyler and his business plan that helped get the loan approved, “Tyler had a good idea and a well-prepared written business plan. The plan included back up cash flow to reduce risk to the lender. His passion and persistence were very evident when he applied.”

Tyler had this to say about the assistance he received from CDR: “I had a dream.  I realized quickly, I needed to surround myself with good advisors to help me be successful.  That includes a good accountant, a good lawyer, and a good banker.  CDR believed in me and gave me the necessary capital to get this dream off the ground. 

The 402 Creamery has grown to two locations in Lincoln, located at 311 N. 8th Street in the Haymarket and 7101 Kentwell Lane in Village Gardens. Pints are also available at the A Street Market at 3308 A Street. The Creamery also has an ice cream truck that provides ice cream treats at special events in the area. You can follow 402 Creamery on Facebook and Instagram, in addition to their website (www.402creamery.com).

Community Development Resources (CDR) is a non-profit 501c (3) organization whose mission is to provide capital, technical assistance, and training opportunities for small business and housing in the state of Nebraska. Community Development Resources lends to start-up and existing businesses that have a viable business plan to create or maintain business. CDR is located at 912 N. 70th Street in the Meadowlane Shopping Center. For more information about CDR and how we “Open Doors for Small Business”, see our website at cdr-nebraska.org or call 402-436-2387.

Jeff Breunig, CDR's Loan Officer, Perk Up Thursday Talk

Watch Jeff Breunig's Perk Up Thursday talk.  Jeff shares the story of CDR and how CDR can assist small businesses in reaching their entrepreneurial dreams through technical assistance (one-on-one training, tuition assistance programs, workshops) and small business financing.  Tune in now HERE

Lincoln Community Foundation - Making Lincoln a More Affordable Place to Live

Community collaboration moves the needle on affordable housing efforts.  CDR is expanding its mission and services to include affordable housing.

New Year - New Business? "Planning" is the First Step!

By Wayne Bell, Acting Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

 You want to start a business! You are passionate about the product or service you want to sell!  Maybe you even have a hobby with a customer or two already – and this makes you so passionate you want to start right away!

 Passion is good, and often the most successful small business owners express this deep-felt desire to start a business. Sometimes, though, doing some upfront planning can mean the difference between success and failure. So what can you do as a first step to increase your chances of success?

 Many first-time entrepreneurs are surprised to find out the first step recommended to entrepreneurs by the U.S. Small Business Administration on its website.  It is not picking a business name and business structure, calculating start-up costs, writing a business plan or finding financing, although each of those steps have a place.

 The SBA recommends doing research.  And we recommend the two types briefly explained here. 

Market Research

First, SBA recommends conducting market research to see if your idea might have potential customers in the area in which you hope to do business.  This step helps you determine whether the body of your knowledge about your product or service really has strong enough legs to walk your endeavor towards success as you consider the answers to many questions.

 By researching the market, you may find that potential customers aren’t in the area in which you had hoped to start your business.  But you can find out where they are and whether you can devise marketing methods to reach them.

 Competitive Analysis

The second research task involves analyzing the businesses like yours in your market area.  It is called a competitive analysis and is necessary because a potential customer base is not limitless. You may very well believe your product or service can be offered more innovatively, conveniently, less expensively or is just the best…but unless you know who you are up against you don’t really know that for sure.

 Through competitive analysis you can find out who your competition is serving, whether they are serving those customers well and whether there will be a growing demand for your product or service as indicated by business trends.

 “Planning” is something you can do right now.  You can find an in depth explanation of these research types, outside research websites where you can find information and even an online tool which will give you beginning data at www.sba.gov/business-guide  in the “Plan Your Business” section.

U.S. SBA Recognizes CDR as National Small CDC of the year for 2013

Community Development Resources of Lincoln was named a National Small Certified Development Company of the Year for 2013 and selected for an Award of Excellence by the U.S. Small Business Administration.  [Link to Journal Star Article May 31, 2013]  SBA Director Karen G. Mills congratulated Exec. Director Rick Wallace and Community Development Resources on May 6th 2013.