Lesley Richmond thought she was on to something with her homemade ice cream and cookies, but she wanted a test run before taking the leap to a brick-and-mortar store.
“I think it’s good, but I’m a little biased,” she said. “We wanted to see what the general public was going to say about the product.
Mama Bird’s Cookies + Cream started in 2014 with two custom-made vintage carts.
“It was more to not spend a ton of money and test the product,” Richmond said.
The carts made appearances at local festivals, the Holly Springs Farmers Market and Cary’s Lazy Daze. They are available for weddings and other private events.
“Last season went really well and we had great feedback,” Richmond said.
Sales were good enough to persuade Richmond to move ahead with plans for a storefront. She leased property on Main Street in downtown Holly Springs that she is currently remodeling with an eye on opening later this a spring.
“Our goal is the end of April or early May,” she said. “It’s exciting and very scary.”
Mama Bird’s uses a custard base in its ice cream.
“We have egg yolks in ours, which allows it to be a creamier, thicker and denser product,” she said.
Cookies and candies can be mixed in at the customer’s request.
“When the store opens, we will bake fresh cookies every morning,” she said. “With our inclusions, if it can be made in the kitchen, it’s homemade.”
Selling cookies also allows customers to make their own ice cream sandwiches.
About 18 flavors will be offered in the store, with the ability to make more. Two of the most popular are salted caramel and banana cream pie.
“It all started out of my kitchen,” Richmond said. “We do test batches at my house. My kids want to have ice cream 24/7.”
She has partnered with Sludge Coffee Roaster to offer coffee drinks in the store.
Richmond said the key to her success is being willing to adapt to her customers.
“I used to have a lady who would come to the Holly Springs market with her own bowl,” she said. “I realized I needed to start selling pints.
“You have to be open to what people want. I like being able to step outside the box. It’s fun to be challenged and see the things you can do.”
Mama Bird’s will feature cinnamon rolls on Sundays once the store opens.
“We have so many churches in the local area,” she said. “They can go and enjoy a Sunday treat. We will bake our own cinnamon rolls every Sunday morning.
“We wanted something where people can create memories for their families.”
The small-town feel she has found in Holly Springs has been ideal for starting a business while balancing family and careers, said Richmond, the outreach coordinator for Meals on Wheels of Wake County. Her husband is a firefighter in Holly Springs.
“It’s not easy, but honestly and truly, there have been some fantastic people in Holly Springs who do not know me from Adam but have been so supportive.
“They want to see us succeed. That’s what I love about a small town.”
About Mama Bird’s Cookies + Cream
Location: 304 N. Main St., Holly Springs (opening late April/early May)
Contact: 919-698-9854, firstname.lastname@example.org