After 30 years of working for the postal service, entrepreneur Gwendolyn House Smith is making a sweet career move.
This month, she opens her first business. Lula's Frozen Treats, named for House Smith's mother Lula May, opens at 1750 Frayser Boulevard.
“She always made us homemade ice cream coming up,” said House Smith.
Earlier this year, House Smith retired from the postal industry to take care of her husband, who had lung cancer. After his passing in July, House Smith began thinking about opening her own business.
House Smith has a lot of family in Frayser, including 26 great nieces and nephews.
“I love kids,” said House Smith. “Since everything’s left out of Frayser, I want to give the kids something to do, to bring back to the community somewhere that they can go and have fun.”
She stressed that providing a safe environment for the children is a top priority.
Construction is underway on the 1,200-square-foot space, and Infinity Construction is the general contractor. Plans include a new patio to be built outside over the month before the shop opens. The interior is being torn out, and new designs feature a room where the kids can watch Disney movies.
House Smith expects the shop to be open before Christmas.
To assist with her efforts, House Smith received a $18,000 loan from the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County. The money will also be used for hiring two additional employees to start out.
“The EDGE loan is helping me a lot,” said House Smith. “It will play a big part in the money I will have to start up the ice cream shop.”
She became acquainted with the EDGE program because it had also assisted her son, Jamal Arnold, with one of his businesses. Lula’s Frozen Treats will sit next to Arnold's barber shop, On the Spot Cuts & Styles, at 3147 Frayser Boulevard.
“To get good ice cream, you have to go to Bartlett or the Wolfchase area,” said House Smith, who is hoping to finalize a deal soon to carry Blue Bell Ice Cream. “I’m hoping to start out with 12 or 13 different flavors, and we will have sundaes. We’re also looking into doing shaved ice.”