In 2009, Scott Moloney walked away from his $90,000 a year job in finance to open Treat Dreams, his ice cream shop in Ferndale, Michigan where he serves up unique, house-made flavors like Lobster Bisque and Macaroni and Cheese.
“I was in banking for 18 years. For me to say I’m just pitching it all to go make ice cream…I know my coworkers thought I was crazy,” he says. “As you get older and you start having more responsibilities — become a homeowner, then you get married, you have kids — you feel like you’re in a box, and it’s more and more difficult to just change.”
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A lender during the height of the recession, Moloney grew tired of delivering bad news to clients.
The married father of two credits his children with inspiring his switch. “Having two kids and taking them out for ice cream for 13 years, it just seemed like something, one, I could pull off, two, that there was a good enough business model for,” Moloney says.
Treat Dreams cost $200,000 to get off the ground, most of which came from his now-depleted savings account. Moloney also racked up $50,000 in credit card debt in the process. The store finally started generating a profit 18 months in, and Moloney was able to take home about $1,500 a month.
At first, he only offered the standard flavors, but it was an experiment called "Sunday Breakfast" — ice cream with waffles, maple syrup and bacon — that spread the word. Soon, customers came flocking from all over the state to taste his creative concoctions.
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“We’ve made over 700 flavors, almost anything you can think of in the food universe,” he says.
Today, Treat Dreams and its accompanying ice cream truck are on track to generate half a million dollars in revenue in 2013, and Moloney could be back to pocketing a $90,000 salary as early as next year. He’s also hoping to expand to a second location and add another truck.
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“When you give a kid an ice cream cone, he smiles 100% of the time. It’s that immediate gratification, immediate positive feedback I think that’s been the most rewarding thing,” says Moloney.
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