Spotlight On: Howdy Homemade Ice Cream

Howdy Homemade Ice Cream in downtown Indianapolis is scooping up the good stuff — not only because they serve great ice cream, but because they also have a mission to help create jobs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Cindy Carter, chief operating officer of Howdy Homemade Ice Cream, answered some of our questions about what makes this place unique.

Tell us about Howdy Homemade Ice Cream. What makes you stand out from other ice cream shops?

Howdy Homemade is on a relentless pursuit to create jobs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through franchising ice cream shops. We offer a simple business model that is designed to help communities tackle the unfortunate reality of underemployment for the neuro diverse population. Creating jobs provides structure, confidence and a sense of pride. Equally important, it gives their family satisfaction knowing that their loved one is contributing to a successful business.

Tell us about your passion for helping individuals with disabilities?

At Howdy Indy, we are changing the world through the power of our smiles and amazing ice cream. Howdy Homemade franchise is a unique franchise due to their charter. The vetting process for potential franchise owners requires the focus of each store to employ individuals with disabilities. Society tends to have limited mindsets regarding the potential contributions of this underutilized sector of the workforce. Through unique and creative training, Howdy Homemade not only recruits people with disabilities, but we build individual work and social competencies.

Whether Howdy is a person’s first job, career choice, or an opportunity to build a resume, Howdy provides routine individual mentoring to meet each employee’s current needs and provide a chance to stretch themselves with new goals and skills. With 99% retention rate, Howdy Indy celebrates employees who have been with us since we opened our doors Labor Day weekend in 2022. Unlike many fast-food experiences in today’s world, Howdy Indy wants to provide an excellent customer experience, so we focus on a colorful, fun environment with friendly staff and amazing ice cream.

People with disabilities are often devalued by others, unconsciously segregating or isolating them, which leads to life wasting. All of us seek a higher purpose in life than to merely exist. Employment changes the mindsets of the community with each scoop and smile. Owners Carmela Toler and Cindy Carter support an inclusive society with their work at LEL Home Services, Howdy Homemade Indy, and Carter’s Play Place.

What’s your most popular flavor?

Howdy Indy’s best selling ice cream is Cold Brew and Cookies, but kids prefer Cookie Nom’Ster with its bright blue color.

How can someone apply to work at Howdy Homemade Ice Cream?

People interested in working for Howdy Indy can visit

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