Yvonne and Sean were both single parents when they met online. Yvonne was successfully running HearSay Speech and Hearing Centre as a Speech-Language Pathologist, while raising three beautiful girls, Jasmine (14), Maya (12) and Chloe (9). Meanwhile, Sean, an IT Specialist with a major bank, had his hands full with Tiegan (10) and Avery (8). Months after getting to know each other, Yvonne and Sean decided to blend their families; as expected, it did not come without its challenges. The beginning stages, as Yvonne remembers, brought on feelings of isolation for some of the kids. Naturally, all the kids at some point felt like they were left out and didn’t fit into the dynamics of the new family. Everything would soon change during their family trip to Florida.

Sean and Yvonne, owners of Ice-Cream Lab, pose in their white coats and baseball caps.

Owners of the Ice-Cream Lab, Sean and Yvonne.

During an ice cream outing in Kissimmee, Florida, they stumbled upon an ice cream shop with a unique concept: the ice cream was made to order. The customer was able to choose their flavour and toppings while the “scientist” behind the counter added liquid nitrogen to the ingredients and cream base, to instantly create ice cream that also happened to be delicious! Having an entrepreneurial spirit, Yvonne instantly saw this in her own community of Milton, Ontario. “It was like a little kernel of a thought, and from there it just snowballed”! By February, Sean and Yvonne, were in full motion looking for the perfect space to open up their own Ice Cream Lab and their logo was being designed. The logo would encompass all five children wearing lab coats and creating ice cream; this is when the magic began!

Young girl, Maya, whipping up an ice-cream concoction in a vat chilled by liquid nitrogen.

Maya is whipping up a concoction that will leave you coming back time after time.

Throughout the entire decision making process, from creating the logo, to deciding on flavours, the couple kept all the children as involved as possible. Their input was valued and they were even given business titles which reflected their unique personalities and skills. Suddenly, dinner conversation involved everyone and the family was sharing a dream belonging to everyone equally. Their family dynamics changed in a way neither Sean nor Yvonne expected. “We didn’t set out to do this for this reason,” Yvonne admits. ”It naturally happened. There is now a common interest and goal to work towards together.”

The Ice Cream Lab opened in June of this year and it has been a huge hit all summer! With line-ups literally out-the-door, along with their hired team, the family pitches in where they are needed. The kids are all given chores from dishwashing to operating the cash register. Sean and Yvonne both admit it has not come without its challenges: “The younger ones want to make the ice cream, and they are not old enough yet,” says Yvonne. “Everyone wants to make the ice cream with the liquid nitrogen!” Sean laughs. Yvonne finds it challenging to be their mom and boss, “they will sooner comply with their shift manager’s request before mine or Sean’s.”

“The Ice Cream Lab did not exist before us!” Yvonne says proudly. “This belongs to all of us, equally!”

Photo of the five Ice-Cream Lab children in their white coats and baseball caps.

The Ice-Cream Team featuring (from left to right) Maya, Tiegan, Avery, Chloe, and Jasmine

The family agrees there have been many blessings that have come from this journey; for one, they have grown closer as a family unit. “The Ice Cream Lab did not exist before us!” Yvonne says proudly. “This belongs to all of us, equally!” The Ice Cream Lab has given the family something to be proud of. Jasmine, the eldest, beams when she describes how hard she works, “I work harder here than at home, because it is in front of strangers!” There is excitement and pride in her voice when she says, “I’m so much more motivated now!” Many of Jasmine’s peers work at the Ice Cream Lab. “Working with friends is stressful because I don’t want them to let my parents down.” When I asked Chloe about what she is most proud of, she doesn’t hesitate to say “my whole family gets to own it together.” Tiegan feels no shame in admitting, “I like getting money!” Maya is most proud of being promoted from doing dishes to being on cash, and Avery gets the most excited about eating the caramel! For Yvonne and Sean, the blessings are bountiful; they have watched their children learn new skills and have come to realize that they have incredible work ethic. The foundation they have laid for them is unfolding right before their eyes everyday. The family and the rest of their team is excited to stir up your favourite toppings to create a blend that will leave you coming back time after time!

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