Austin Couple Turns Their Love of Ice Cream Into Sweet Success: 'We Know How Happy It Makes People'
Ice cream has always played a sweet role in Chad Palmatier and Anthony Sobotik's relationship
Episode 10 of AMERICAN DOERS, a new 12-part video series featuring original thinkers, innovators, craftspeople, risk-takers and artisans across the United States.
Ice cream has always played a sweet role in Chad Palmatier and Anthony Sobotik’s relationship.
In March 2005, when Palmatier, 43, introduced his then-new boyfriend Sobotik, 35, to his family in Lancaster, Pa., the first thing they all did was head to their favorite ice cream corner shop to celebrate. And Sobotik, a self-taught chef, couldn’t get enough of the homemade treat.
“I was fascinated that they were using local ingredients and it was a family-run shop,” he tells PEOPLE.
Three years later, during a visit to Sobotik’s family home in Austin, the pair wanted to go out for ice cream again — but found only chain shops nearby. “And I was like, ‘Why isn’t anyone opening a shop here that uses local milk and cream and all the ingredients we have in Austin?’ ” recalls Sobotik.
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So they did. In 2010, the couple sold their home in Ohio, moved to Austin, Texas, and opened Lick Honest Ice Creams with a mandate to use only wholesome ingredients from local farmers. “We want to support our local dairies and farmers,” Sobotik says. “That’s really important to us.”
With Sobotik dreaming up inventive flavors (Cilantro Lime, Texas Sheet Cake and Dewberry Corn Cobler), and Palmatier, a former store designer for Victoria’s Secret, focusing on branding, they’ve learned that starting a business with your partner can take a toll.
“The first year was so stressful,” says Palmatier. “Creating something together is all-consuming, and we were both just exhausted. But we’ve weathered every storm, [and] it’s made us stronger as a couple.”
Three stores later (and a fourth opening this spring), it all comes back to the simple art of scooping. “We make a product that brings joy to people,” says Sobotik. “We know how happy it makes people.” And, of course, themselves. Adds Palmatier, “Anthony will still polish off a pint every now and then!”