From selling ice cream out of a homemade ice cream cart at eight years old to opening a new ice cream shop this year, the Lil’ Ice Cream Dude has become a known name across Georgia.
Now a freshman at Cedar Shoals, Beau Shell plans to open his Cool World Ice Cream Shop this year.
“I don’t have an exact date. I don’t want to make any assumptions yet because there’s still a lot of things to deal with financially and lots of things to get renovated for the building before the store is up and running,” said Beau.
“All of the money that he makes right now is going to the opening, renovation, and remodeling of his store. We’re getting his equipment for him to be able to make his own ice cream flavors,” said Mrs. Vickie Shell, Beau’s mother.
Even before the store opens, the Shells are looking beyond the East side.
“A lot of people’s time and money went into this. I don’t want to let the community down for helping me open this store. It will be a big milestone for me. I plan on growing the business even more. I plan on trying to grow bigger, do collaborations, and even go international with this,” said Beau.
Shell formerly attended Athens Christian School until eighth grade before coming to public school on the East side.
“It was really helpful academically. The band was fun too. In private school there is more connection to religion and there is a much stricter dress code and code of conduct,” said Beau.
Still, Beau has found his home as a Jaguar through the Classic City Sound marching band.
“Cedar isn’t that much different from Athens Christian. Coming in I was somewhat nervous because I have heard some bad talk about Cedar, but I have made some good relationships here with the marching band and some of my other classmates,” Beau said.
When children move into high school, parents often worry about how they will balance academics, more independence, and more after-school activities. For Beau, juggling a business as well as school responsibilities can be challenging, especially for a freshman. Beau’s mother has seen her son adjust to Cedar Shoals well, and she believes he has learned to better manage his responsibilities.
“I’ve seen him become more independent and responsible. I think Beau going to Cedar will impact his business in a positive way. Going to a public school will allow more people to know him and follow him on social media, and more people from around the area will know him and come visit him at the shop,” said Mrs. Shell.
“Beau is an excellent student, he is very motivated in the classroom and every time he doesn’t understand something he keeps at it until he gets it. His success early on in life will lead to success in the future,” said Mrs. Margaret Morgan, math department.
The entrepreneurship that Beau has honed through his ice cream business has taught him how to be a better student, too.
“I think that with Beau being an entrepreneur in high school, it forces him to be more organized and responsible,” said Morgan.
For his eighth birthday Beau asked for an ice cream cart. He liked the idea of making people happy while also making money, so he started a Kickstarter campaign to grow his brand and eventually bought his own truck.
Beau will soon open his own ice cream shop right down the road from Cedar in the Ansonborough Shopping Center. Shell plans to continue booking his ice cream truck and catering events after the opening.
“I think that going to Cedar will be beneficial to me. The store is very close and it will be easy to get from school to my store and get started with my work,” said Beau.
Cool World will also be making homemade ice cream sandwiches which will be an adjustment from the pre-bought items he currently sells.
“Cookie dough is one of my favorite flavors, so plan on seeing a cookie dough ice cream sandwich flavor,” said Beau.
Beau’s successful crowdfunding gave him enough money to open Cool World. He also got approved under the Department of Agriculture, which will allow him to make his own ice cream. He does not want to let his supporters down.
“The mobile side of the business is most important, and it wouldn’t make sense to give up a source of income. The sales at big games are good because I have a lot of supporters in this area,” said Shell.
Shell’s work ethic and maturity help him succeed as a young entrepreneur, and his management of his mobile business has him ready for the opening of his brick and mortar store.
“He has made customer relationships with a lot of people who will come and support him. The new store will help him become more of a manager. When the store opens he will be managing his employees,” said Mrs. Shell.
The name ‘Lil’ Ice Cream Dude’ has become known, but Beau is not so little anymore. As his business continues to grow, so does Beau, but he doesn’t plan to drop the ‘Lil’ off his name. He wants to keep his business’ name, and he plans to hire other young people to help as his business grows.
“It’s more of a figurative thing. I think that since my name has become known already locally, I will just keep it as ‘Lil Ice Cream Dude’ because it also tells my story of how I started. I think that starting a business at such a young age has shown me that I can make my own money. If I were to stop selling ice cream, my mindset would still be to go out and make more money,” said Beau.
His parents have provided the necessary guidance on his journey as the Lil’ Ice Cream Dude. They have supported his business since he started, spreading his business through social media and local events.
Beau recently traveled Washington, D.C. to attend the 2018 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Conference and the 2018 Dream Big Small Business Awards Gala. Shell also participated in the Main Street Ambassadors program as part of his visit, visiting the U.S. Congress Building to lobby Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) on behalf of small businesses everywhere. At the gala he was named one of three finalists for the U.S. Chamber’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and he won.
“As parents, we have been proud of Beau from day one. We’re proud that he has learned to balance his business as well as other things in life like school and band. We’re proud of the way he’s learned to manage his time and keep his grades up and still be successful,” said Mrs. Shell.
Beau’s plan for the future is to grow bigger and better. With his new store location he hopes to bring in new income, but this store is about more than money: it is an accomplishment.
“It is the next step in Beau achieving his ultimate dream,” said Mrs. Shell.