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Aurora ice cream shop with big mission sees success in its first year, thanks to Centennial woman

Posted at 1:50 PM, Jan 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-03 15:50:13-05

AURORA, Colo. — At Howdy Homemade Ice Cream, owner Troy Knuckles believes all the employees are heroes.

The shop has provided jobs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Aurora for over a year now. While their mission is admirable, it's their signature ice cream that keeps customers coming back.

Aurora ice cream shop with big mission sees success in first year, thanks to Centennial woman

All of it, hand-made by volunteers like Sheila Bengtson.

"Opening a business in the first year — it's so critical to succeed," Knuckles said of Bengtson. "The fact we've had her come in and volunteer for us has really helped us out a ton — that's a big cost we didn't have to bear."

Bengtson has a daughter with special needs, and when she met Troy at a resource fair — she immediately wanted to help, despite no real experience with ice cream. She's recruited a regular group of volunteers, who can now whip up 18 gallons in two hours.

Nat'l Disability Employment Awareness Month: Howdy Ice Cream

She's even come up with her own flavors — including Lemon Crunch, which was a big seller over the summer. Those talents are just some of the reasons people here love her.

And it's why Denver7 and West Shore Homes are honoring Sheila Bengtson, as a Denver7 Everyday Hero.

Denver7 features a different Everyday Hero each week. To nominate a hero in your life, click here.