BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION WINNER – MARK LEWIS CO-OWNER, ROLLING WITH CREAM

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Who doesn’t want to dig into a cooling, delicious ice cream on a hot summer day down here in the Valley? That’s what Mark Lewis and Andrew Gomez, co-owners of Rolling With Cream, are counting on with their unique Thai Ice Cream Rolls.

Mark is an adventurous kind of guy. Instead of waiting for a job at JFK Airport in his home of New York, he opted for a job in the Valley. Arriving here, he was quick to see business opportunities available all around.

About a year and a half ago he saw something on Facebook which intrigued him. Researching it further, the idea of Thai Ice Cream Rolls took root after he actually had a sample on a trip back to New York.

“I found a machine and got my buddy, Andrew, to chip in half,” Mark related. “I told him, ‘I’m going to make ice cream.’ He called me crazy.”

Mark worked all summer to develop his own recipe from scratch, learning the art of rolling ice cream. Inviting some friends in for a taste test, it was deemed a hit, and he was ready to take the next step.

“I don’t know what we have here and don’t think we’re ready for a storefront. Let’s get a food truck,” he said.

From day one, December 31, 2016, people lined up for his delicious concoctions such as Hanna Banana, Orayo and Strawberry Bears, guaranteeing his customers the freshest ingredients. Since the process heated up the truck and he lost one of the machines to heat, it became abundantly clear something had to be done. The idea of a storefront was back on the table.

A business major, Mark knew he needed a good business plan. The Chamber’s competition came at the perfect time.

“Every day I worked on the plan and mapped it out. They had a format they wanted you to follow. I pulled out some of my old notes and did my research, looking into the price of ingredients,” he added.

As one of the finalists, he upped his game plan, working with the Business School at UTRGV for direction.

“After doing more research into my product ingredients, I went into much more detail, being more specific on my plan. It actually put a lot of things I hadn’t thought about in perspective, like the price of milk potentially increasing, and how storms on Madagascar increased my cost of pure vanilla.”

Taking those last three weeks to finalize his plan, he prepared his ten-minute presentation with slides.

“I’m a sentimental guy and when I received the call that I won, my eyes watered up,” Lewis admitted.

His dream would come true. They would use the money for opening their store. Already finding new items to add to help him diversify, the brick and mortar Rolling with Cream will be across from the movie theater on Nolana.

The ice cream world has become a passion for Mark.

“I find myself looking at ice cream all day,” he laughed. “It’s weird, but it keeps me busy, and I like to be busy.”

Check them out at Instagram at #rollingwithcreamRGV or facebook at www.facebook.com/rollingwithcream.