Updated: Dec 9, 2022
Location: Katie's Frozen Custard, 602 S Valley Mills Dr, Waco, TX 76711, https://katiesfrozencustard.com/
Photos & Interview: Photography by Delaney, www.photographybydelaney.com
January of this year I worked with Katie and her sweet family for the very first time to capture their family photos, and I have had the pleasure of watching her son grow and change, and have been able to photograph him a few time since, including celebrating and documenting his birthday!
So, when I announced I wanted to start doing community spotlight blogs, she asked if I was interested in coming to Katie's Frozen Custard and my jaw dropped. I had heard of it, of course, but hadn't yet had the opportunity to visit (boy have I been missing out). I asked immediately "OH MY GOSH...you are THE Katie?" It all started to make sense. So, I decided to take my littles to get some of "The Greatest Stuff on Earth", and y'all it is no exaggeration.
We moseyed our way down Valley Mills Dr until we saw their location. We pulled in, parked, and checked out their awesome setup!
Katie herself brought out our custard, and we got to chatting about this small, family owned business!
HOW DID IT GET STARTED?
She told me about how in 2002 (20 years ago!), her family moved from Missouri with plans to open a frozen custard shop. On their way to Austin, they stopped in Waco to take a break and stumbled across the location that is now the home to Katie's. At the time it was an old gas station, so it took a lot of work and help from family who came from all over to assist in getting it going. Katie was just 2 years old at the time, but her uncle decided to name it after her, along with design their logo in her likeness as well!
She beams about being a local and family owned & operated business. "We’ve had employees who have come back after their time at Katie’s to express just how much they loved working for us, or how it helped them build a work ethic. In fact, one of our other current store managers has been with us since he was a teenager. He left for the military, then came back to work for us. All of our employees are family to us. We’re still in touch with quite a few of our former employees."
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE IN THE BUSINESS?
Turns out, Katie is not only the namesake and the logo inspiration, but as it generally is for kids who's families have a small business, she grew up there!
"Due to us being family owned, I have always been in and out of Katie’s. I practically grew up there. My family even had a swing for me out back in one of the pecan trees when I was growing up! However, I started actually working when I was around 15/16 years old." She recalls. Now, she is the store manager and social media manager and is very involved in day to day operations.
DID YOU ALWAYS DREAM OF RUNNING A SMALL BUSINESS?
She shares how her family moved here with that exact vision in mind!
"It’s nice to have a small business because you get to personally know your employees. Having a corporate business sort of diminishes that relationship. Small businesses allow for you to control your business, and be able even personally know your customers, too! We get many reviews/comments from customers saying that they enjoy the fact that our employees know their orders and names. I think those are the best kind of reviews."
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT THIS BUSINESS?
It is clear to me just how important it is for Katie and her family to have a family owned business and to be very hands on and involved.
"We aren’t a place where we are hands off. We’re in and out of the store to work with our managers and employees. We have weekly meetings with our managers, so we can all sit down together and make sure things are being run like they should. Everything is done a “Katie’s Way.” But, we work WITH our employees and adapt to make sure we are training them in a way that makes sense for them."
While I enjoyed the Dirt & Bears Sundae and a Sprinkle Sundae with my girls, I asked her:
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MENU ITEM?
"Personally, I love a peanut butter vortex with hot fudge down the middle. However, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu!" She tells me. Honestly, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!
It looks like we will be dropping by any time we are in the area, and are already looking forward to trying something new next time. If you haven't had the opportunity to visit Katie's Frozen Custard, I guarantee you won't be disappointed with the experience or the custard. It really is the best.
Whether Katie's is already a favorite of yours, or if you need an excuse to drop by, stay tuned as Katie's Frozen Custard and I will be teaming up to offer a giveaway in 2023 for a free mini session at Katie's along with a Katie's gift card to use while you are there! It would be perfect for a date with your significant other, or as a Mommy/Daddy & me session with your kiddo.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned next year as I highlight more of Waco area's small-businesses!