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 allowed Tyler to reduce his startup risk and increase 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 ion 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 round and by introducing Seasonal Flavors. If a new flavor is a big hit, Tyler adds it to his always available Signature Flavor list.
Key to Success – Adaptability
402 Creamery weathered the COVID pandemic by providing carryout 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) 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.”
Community Development Resources is a nonprofit 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 St. in the Meadowlane Shopping Center. Visit cdr-nebraska.org or call (402) 436-2387 for more information.