Whenever they wanted to get ice cream, Miles and Amanda Merritt typically had to drive to a larger city, like Omaha.
Although Fremont has Zesto and Sweete Shoppe, the husband and wife wanted somewhere they could sit inside with their two children, Matthew and Miyah, like Coneflower Creamery or Ted and Wally’s.
Within the last year, the two started having serious conversations about starting their business.
“We kind of started thinking about it more and more, and then we’re like, ‘What about ice cream?’” Amanda Merritt said. “And then we just kind of went from there.”
The Merritts’ ice cream shop, M&M Creamery, has plans to open this spring in downtown Fremont. The name comes from Miles’ name and Amanda’s nickname, Manda.
People can get a first taste of their ice cream at the Fremont Fall Festival this weekend with free samples. The Merritts will be stationed at the Artisan and Farmer’s Market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will be in front of Milady Coffeehouse at other times.
Miles and Amanda Merritt first met in Kansas City around eight years ago. They were both managers for different Subway locations under the same owner.
The two got married in February 2013 and moved to Fremont later that year, where they have lived since.
Miles Merritt said his wife would often tell him that she wanted to go back into owning or managing her own food place.
“The more we started thinking about it, the more it started to make sense,” he said. “We both enjoyed what we did before.”
Amanda Merritt said the first steps they took were research and development in making their own ice cream.
“Families and friends have been great,” she said. “We give them some ice cream and all we ask for is honest feedback, then we critique our recipes a little bit and just do it all over again.”
Although they had experience with food and certifications involving temperatures, Miles Merritt said they had to learn the process of how to do everything properly, involving getting the constancy of the ice cream right.
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“It was just simply making ice cream, finding what worked and finding what didn’t work,” he said. “Because there is a lot more to it than we both first realized.”
Compared to other ice cream shops, Amanda Merritt said M&M Creamery will not only be indoor, but will be hard-scooped and hand-scooped.
“It’ll take you back to being on grandpa’s porch or growing up with birthday parties,” she said. “That’s the kind of ice cream that I grew up on, and my husband as well.”
M&M Creamery will also use all natural ingredients for its ice cream, other than food coloring, Miles Merritt said.
“We actually made a batch of cotton candy ice cream this morning, and to make it blue, we’re going to add blue food coloring, but it uses real milk, real eggs, real cream, real sugar,” he said. “We’re not going to order it out of a package and add milk or water to it.”
There are also plans for M&M Creamery to include baked goods along with its ice cream.
“I mean, who doesn’t love a hot brownie on top of a scoop of ice cream?” Amanda Merritt said.
The Merritts have 15 recipes made already and will debut five at the Fall Festival. These flavors are vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, cheesecake and cotton candy.
With these first samples, Amanda Merritt said she wants all kind of feedback, regardless of what people like, so they can get ready for the opening this spring.
“This is going to be completely unbiased,” Miles Merritt said. “This is going to be people that we don’t know and don’t have any connection to, so it’s far more of a baseline of what we’re looking at, which I’m excited about. I think we’re both incredibly nervous and very excited about it.”
Although M&M Creamery is still looking for a location, Miles Merrit said he knows that he wants to establish it in the downtown area.
“I think it adds to the old style that the downtown Fremont area represents, the older buildings, and what we’re kind of doing with our business is taking it back to when ice cream was first being made,” he said. “There’s an old style to it, so that’s what we want to portray.”