Down in Dallas, Texas, Tom Landis, a restaurant owner in the area, was working at one of his places when he met a young man named Coleman Jones, “It was a real busy night at one of my other restaurants when I met Coleman (Jones), and he just immediately jumped in and helped serve food and was super friendly,” Landis explained. “I called his mom up the next day and said, ‘Hey, you know, I want to hire this guy.’ He has so much potential, written all over him, and leadership.”
Tom was so impressed by Coleman that he was inspired to open a new store; an Ice Cream shop, with Coleman as their first employee. Coleman Jones has special needs, but Tom Landis didn’t see someone who needed taking care of, he saw someone with great potential. And he realized there must be others out there who the world sees as a burden who could be great assets.
That’s why Howdy Homemade works with numerous special needs organizations to hire, train, and employ people with Down syndrome and autism. Every aspect of Howdy Homemade encompasses the special needs of the huge under-employed segment of our population with one goal: To change the way businesses hire people with special needs. “I was blessed that I ultimately get the opportunity to not only be employed for Tom, but to also be an asset where you’re going to blossom,” Jones said.
Now, Howdy Homemade is an ice cream shop in Dallas, known for it’s delicious flavours, and it’s public service mission. But much like other food industry businesses, the pandemic hit them hard, so hard that they were at risk of shutting down entirely. “I think it got to the point honestly where it took absolutely a very clear message of me realizing ‘You know what? I can’t do it. I can’t do it, and it’s time to throw in the towel,'” Landis said. “And I honestly think that’s when God said ‘You can’t do it? Yep, no, you can’t. But you know what? I’m going to surround you with a village of people, people from all over Dallas.'”
And the village of Dallas stepped up, starting with a friend who started a GoFundMe that raised over $100,000. That money was enough to not only save the shop, but give them a chance to expand their efforts to better be able to survive future hard times. They are opening up a food truck, and hire more employees.
But that’s not all! You see, all the public attention not only boosted business, and helped their GoFundMe take off, it also caught the attention of the media, and while Tom and Coleman were on TODAY with Hoda and Jenna, and being cheered on in their support, CNBC’s “The Profit” host Marcus Lemonis was also there; to gift them with a $50,000.00 grant for their shop.
“I spend my whole career, my whole life, really helping businesses get to the next level and it’s clear to me that you guys are prepared to get to that next level,” he said. “I would like to give you a $50,000 grant specifically used to hire more people to grow what you’re trying to do in the Dallas community.”
This will allow them to expand their efforts and stay open even longer. In his darkest moments Tom Landis found that God and his community had his back. And That is certainly your Good News Story of the Day, which you can find here. But Tom has been blown away by the support, including Lemonis’ grant, “It’s humbling,” said Landis, who called Lemonis’ grant “unbelievable.”
“We’ve had multiple times where you just stop and tear up because it’s no longer our restaurant. It’s truly the City of Dallas’ restaurant,” he said. “People are not supporting Howdy Homemade because of Tom Landis. They’re supporting it because of Coleman and the others, and I think as more businesses start to realize that, the world will change.”
Story and Image from TODAY.