Economy

Darryl Goodner fell in love with ice cream making when he was 19 years old and has been creating flavors ever since. Now 29, Goodner makes 70 gallons a week and sells his ice cream wholesale, as well as at farmer’s markets and local restaurants. He’s co-founder of Louisville Cream, a small batch gourmet ice cream company located in Louisville.

(In case you’re wondering, his favorite Louisville Cream flavor is Bulleit Bourbon with pralines, pecans, corn flakes, and a salted caramel swirl.)

As part of our new weekly series From the Ground Up, I caught up with Goodner at Cooper and King’s distillery, one of the places that sells Louisville Cream. 

Listen to our conversation in the audio player above.

On how he got into the ice cream business:

“My ex-girlfriend’s mom had one of those old, crank rock salt joints. I borrowed it and never returned it. And I just started making ice cream there. As I got older, I bought kinda like the Cadillac of at home ice cream makers and began making a lot of ice cream. I was even budgeting money to make sure I can make ice cream every weekend. I would bring it to friends. A friend asked me, he was getting married, he asked me if I could cater his wedding. So I asked my buddy if he wanted to help cater the wedding. That was kind of our first event and from there it kind of steamrolled.”

On the decision to go full-time with his business:

“I was working at a chemical plant. The schedule there was 12-hour swing shift so it was exhausting trying to run a business and work a 12-hour swing shift. And I remember one particular morning I had gotten off at seven in the morning after working 12 hours, went to our kitchen, made ice cream, then had to make an ice cream delivery. And I fell asleep on the expressway… Almost died.

“And I just had to decide whether I was going to continue working a job or fully go into Louisville Cream.”

On sacrificing his retirement fund for Louisville Cream:

“Like, once I started working for myself I realized that there’s just a feeling I get; I can’t work as hard as I’m gonna work for myself for anybody else ever. And money has never really meant anything to me. And it made sense to me to take what I do have and put it into something that I really love. It was worth the risk to do that.”

This interview is part of From the Ground Up, our new weekly conversation with entrepreneurs, changemakers and other innovators in Louisville. Listen to more interviews in the series here.