By KATHY BLAKE | Posted:

It took Chantae Fowler years of test-marketing to perfect her product and according to her market, it is perfection.

Fowler loved to bake and create treats and would take her creations to where she worked as a manager for AT&T. In 2003, she started thinking about someday starting a business. Her coworkers were more than willing to test the products she took in and provide feedback. “It was just an idea, it was getting the flavors right,” Fowler said.

She had a dream, and set about slowly and deliberately to bring it to fruition.

She started marketing at trade shows, expos and fundraisers, but had trouble with displaying ice cream because it needs to be kept frozen. So she started offering cookies. “I came up with the idea to sell the cookies to get people to start eating the ice cream,” she said.

She met Donald Snider, senior vice president, Urban Economic Development, Michigan Economic Development Center, (MEDC). He told her to find distribution points, to increase sales and connected her with Metro Foodland. “We got her to the distribution spot,” Snider said.

“I could make things look pretty but didn’t know any of the other aspects of the business. I was driving as far as Flint to deliver ice cream,” she said.

“Donald Snider took me under his wing and helped. I needed to be in a commercial kitchen, he found a kitchen for me in Ferndale.”

He also helped her get into the Commercial Kitchen Pilot Program through the MEDC. He showed her that distributing the ice cream is better than a standalone store. He also helped her get a loan from the Detroit Micro-Enterprise Fund.

Snider added, “We took care of the inspector, liability insurance, so all they had to was focus on their product.”

Fowler first started distributing to Metro Foodland in August 2010. They’re the only location that sells quarts as well as pints. Quarts sells for $7.99 and pints sell for $4.99.

Vince and Joe’s Gourmet Market in Shelby Twp. sells her ice cream. Papa Joe’s in Birmingham and Rochester sell special flavors: Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip; Chocolate peanut butter; Halle Tripleberry and Morris Chestnutty. Other Oakland County stores that sell her ice cream are: 8 Mile Foodland in Southfield; Holiday Market in Royal Oak and Westborn Market in Berkley

Ice Cream Place is available for catered parties. A per person fee is charged and includes the customers’ choice of desserts and toppings which allows a variety of choices for patrons to enjoy and combine.

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