About Me and My Adventures in Ice Cream
My name is Melissa Kenny and I am an ice cream maker. Growing up, I NEVER would have guessed that I would own an ice cream shop and that I would absolutely fall in love with making ice cream. I was always more of a chocolate chip cookie kind of gal! (I still am, in fact, oops!) But ice cream is universally loved and is such a fantastic way to put a smile on someones face, and I will forever love that about it!
It all started when I moved from Chicago to Los Angeles in 2006. I absolutely love creating fun and exciting ANYTHING, so I decided to move there to pursue music video production. So random. Long story short, I became friends with some musicians* who lived out there who were all originally from upstate New York. One random person said to me one day, “Oh Melissa, you would LOVE Ithaca, NY!” This forever stuck in my head for some reason, and came forth again when I met Matt Kenny. After we had fallen in love and decided to spend our lives together, his father, who has been in the ice cream business for around 40 years in Syracuse**, told him that Ithaca, NY needed a soft serve ice cream shop. I immediately said to him, “Lets do it!” because lets face it, I heard I would love it there! And that is how it all began.
In January of 2009, Matt and I left Los Angeles and moved in with his parents in Syracuse to start planning our new business. We figured we could give ourselves a year and open in the Spring of 2010. What we didn’t expect was that we would actually set up a meeting with the lovely Albert and Cindy Smith of Shortstop Deli in Ithaca, sign a lease in April, and open Sweet Melissa’s Ice Cream Shop three weeks later on May 2, 2009! It really has to be one of the fastest business openings in history! Luckily, we had Matt’s parents’ years of experience from their shop in Syracuse**, and Matt’s experience growing up and working in an ice cream shop his whole life. I had just joined the all time best family business ever!!
Throughout the years we’ve been open now, we have lovingly evolved around our customers wants and needs. Our first season, we quickly learned that we needed a non-dairy option so starting in our second year, I started making non-dairy ice cream from scratch using coconut milk. What’s better than homemade ice cream? Since that was so successful, I figured I’d start making our dairy hard ice cream as well, so in our third year, that’s exactly what I did. In the years since, I’ve now completely fallen in love with the process, and the joy that it brings to my customers after they find out that “Sweet Melissa” in fact makes Sweet Melissa’s ice cream herself. I am so excited for the years to come and to see the evolution of Sweet Melissa’s in the future!
*The main musician I am referring to, and who is solely responsible for introducing Matt and I, hence completely responsible for the birth of Sweet Melissa’s, is Michael Mazochi. Please check out his music on iTunes, please support the reason I am even doing what I am doing. He’s amazing! (He also has a band called the Von Furs-check them out as well!) Actually- Here’s the music video that I made for him— “Lately I” by Michael Mazochi.
**Jim and Mary Kenny are just the greatest in laws a girl can have! They started off on the corner of Taft and Buckley Rd with Hafner’s Ice cream, then moved to their current shop at Bear and Buckley Rd with Kenny’s Corner Ice Cream. They also own Chuckleberries in Liverpool, NY where they have self serve frozen yogurt and soft serve ice cream! Please check them out if you are in Syracuse!