A new ice cream shop in Aurora has been dishing out treats for just a few weeks, but it already has a waiting list for people hoping to work there. Take one step into the colorful shop and you'll instantly know why.
"Howdy! Welcome to Howdy Homemade Ice Cream!" Ben Kim proudly exclaims as a customer walks in.
Kim is one of the more generous scoopers at Howdy Homemade, which recently opened on South Parker Road. He's eager to share something sweet with each customer.
"Here you go. Let us know what you think," Kim says as he offered samples.
And if you ask him what he thinks about his job…
"Every time I work here at Howdy, it's like I'm working with a family," he told CBS News Colorado.
Kayle Knuckles' family opened the Howdy Homemade location in Aurora in October. It's a franchise that started in Texas and has a mission to not only serve ice cream but help an underserved community, too.
"We're all about creating jobs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities," said Knuckles, the local shop's general manager. "That's our whole mission."
The Aurora location hasn't even been open a month and it already has a waiting list for employees, or, as they're called at Howdy Homemade, heroes.
"Because that's what they are, they're heroes," said Knuckles. "These people are so amazing. They brighten my day every single day."
And it brightens Justin Hastings' day to be one of the 11 heroes working together.
"When you walk in the door, it's happy coming in," he said.
Hastings said he is happy to work with his fellow heroes and learn something new every day.
"I dip ice cream. I make waffle cones," Hastings said, adding he really likes his employers. "They care about you and your thoughts."
Knuckles said it his hope, and that of Howdy Homemade, that creating opportunities for people like Kim and Hastings will help erase the stigma around those with disabilities and the workforce obstacles they often face.
"We want to be a model for other businesses and companies to be able to give these people a chance," he explained, "because they are capable of a lot."
Knuckles said they plan to expand to other locations. There's already a shop in Colorado Springs in the works, and the family doesn't plan to stop there.
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