Almost weekly, Connor and Courtney Bishop take their 5-year-old son to Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream for a blue “Cookie Monster” ice cream at the store.
The Bishop family goes to the original Kelly store on Corrine Drive, which opened in 2015, but there are now 13 locations across Florida where families can pick up Kelly’s gifts.
“Every flavor is great, but it’s just such a great experience to come to Kelly’s,” said Connor Bishop, 28, of Orlando. “We joke about the good-kept secrets of all the food places, but you want to see the locals work.”
Kelly’s expansion is largely credited to the partnership with the Foxtail Coffee chain, which includes eight Kelly’s at Foxtail locations. One opened in Claremont on Thursday attached to an existing foxtel.
Foxtail co-founder and president Alex Chekmian said 10 to 15 more are planned this year.
“I think the sky is the limit,” said Chekmyan.
The first locations combined with Foxtail, which Kelly’s website refers to as “The Counters,” opened in 2021 off Howell Branch Road near Winter Park.
For Winter Park-based Foxtail, Kelly’s is giving stores another option to attract customers as the coffee business slows in the afternoon and early evening, Chekmian said.
With Foxtail now in Georgia, owners Kelly, wife Kelly, and Scott Seidl said they’d be open to eating ice cream there if Foxtail wanted to serve it in that state.
Getting Kelly’s out of Florida will rely on moving the product so it isn’t compromised as well as more online stores coming in Georgia, Chekmian said.
“The quality of the ice cream comes first,” he said.
Scott Seidel said the partnership allows Kelly’s to focus on “ice cream production.” All that ice cream is still made at Corrine Drive, no matter where it ends up.
Kelly’s now produces more than 2,000 gallons a week, up from about 600 when they just had Corrine Drive and Ferncreek Avenue stores in Orlando and their third store in Oviedo, which opened in 2019.
“When we had the three stores, we used to make ice cream four to five days a week, but now we make ice cream seven days a week,” said Kelly Seidel.
Kelly’s had five employees when she opened her Corrine Drive store. Kelly Seidel said the ice cream industry now has nearly 100 employees.
That doesn’t include employees at eight Kelly’s partner-operated Foxtail stores as far afield as St. Petersburg and Ponte Vedra Beach near Jacksonville.
Kelly plans to move her production to a location that won’t have a retail side early next year, but will still make ice cream at Corrine Drive.
“This might be like [a research and development] “We still want to keep this kitchen active,” said Kelly Seidel of Corrine Drive.
Scott Seidel said cold processors are still also delivered to all stores by Kelly employees, but that eventually an outside company will be brought in for shipping.
The Seidels, who are also a growing family who are expecting their third child in October, have another big dream: to open Kelly’s dairy one day.
Or as Scott Seidl said, “So we go from cow to cone.”