Monica Reichardt left a high paying career in real estate to sell three dollar ice cream cones.
And while she is working harder now than she ever has, the chance to open her own business and bring a smile to the faces of families in north Mississippi makes it absolutely worth it.
“Growing up I’ve always loved ice cream,” Reichardt said. “We would always go to these old time-y places. There wasn’t any place like that here. So I wanted to open a shop where families can have a place to come to and enjoy eating ice cream. We want to be a part of your family’s day.”
DeSoto Snow & Creamery, located at 5627 Getwell Road, offers New Orleans style snowballs and over 40 flavors of ice cream made from old Dutch recipes.
Reichardt, who once worked in an ice cream shop, said she had wanted to open a business for about the past 11 years, but never quite found the right time - until now.
She comes from a family of small business owners. Her grandfather owned a gas station in New Orleans and her brother owned a restaurant. As children, they always were taught the value of shopping locally and supporting mom and pop stores.
“I’m just an extension of how our family grew up,” Reichardt said. “I wanted to bring some of our Louisiana and south Mississippi traditions here.”
While looking around for possible creameries to supply the ice cream, Reichardt said a friend told her about Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream Shoppe in Mobile, Ala.
The store has been selling Dutch style ice cream since 1969. Cammie began working there when she was 16 and eventually bought the store in 1998.
Reichardt took a day trip to Mobile and tried the ice cream and loved it. They brought cartons of different flavors packed in dry ice and let their neighbors try some to get their feedback.
The ice cream was a hit.
“Everyone fell in love with it,” Reichardt said. “It’s a little lighter. It still has milk fat in it, but it’s not a gelato or heavy like a Ben and Jerry’s.”
The ice cream is still made using the same Dutch recipes and is trucked in 377 miles one way from Mobile.
Reichardt has paired the ice cream with another family favorite - New Orleans style snowballs which also come in a ton of flavors.
“We’re from south Mississippi and we love our snowballs,” Reichardt said. “It’s hard to find a snow ball up here. So it’s kind of a match made in Heaven between snowballs and ice cream.”
DeSoto Snow & Creamery opened on June 19 right in the middle of the COViD-19 pandemic, which Reichardt admits probably wasn’t the best time to open a new business.
But from the mom
ent they opened their doors, Reichardt said they were embraced by the community. They have seen their customer base grow almost every day thanks almost entirely to word of mouth.
“I had no idea the timing would be during a pandemic,” Reichardt said. “But all the pieces started to fall together. I told my husband from the beginning, let the customers decide. Our customers have been our driving force through word of mouth.”
And she is already making memories. They had a customer who chose the shop for her baby’s gender reveal, and another family who brought their son there in his pajamas because he promised to go to bed after he had ice cream.
“He ate it here, went back home and went to bed like he promised,” Reichardt said. “That’s just a sweet story that family will remember and get to tell.
“That’s what we were after - creating a little nostalgia. And it has been like that ever since. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy making somebody happy? Who doesn’t enjoy making somebody’s day? We’ve been here almost a year and our customers seem to really enjoy it.”