Kelly's Homemade Ice Cream plans major Central Florida expansion by 2025 – The Business Journals

Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream has ambitious expansion plans: By 2025, the brand plans to have more than 200 locations, most of them in partnership with Orlando-based Foxtail Coffee.
Currently, the brand has eight “counters” at Foxtail Coffee locations in Orlando, St. Petersburg and near Jacksonville. The two companies started collaborating in 2021.
Under the partnership, Foxtail franchise locations operate Kelly’s-branded counters, with a limited variety of signature and featured flavors available.
Counters are easy to implement into Foxtail’s rapid expansion plans, said Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream owners Kelly and Scott Seidl. They will join Foxtail as the brand eyes an out-of-state footprint, starting with a recently opened shop near Atlanta.
By 2025, the Seidls hope to have 200 Kelly’s counters operating in partnership with Foxtail.
Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream also will double its free-standing scoop shops, from five to 10, by 2025. The current five locations in the Orlando area include a flagship scoopery at 3114 Corrine Drive, along with shops on Fern Creek Avenue, as well as in Oviedo, Windermere and in Orlando’s The Yard.
Scoop shops typically range from 1,000-1,500 square feet. Buildouts vary, but typically fall in the $100,000-$200,000 range, Scott Seidl said.
For the next five shops, the couple is eyeing real estate near the University of Central Florida, as well as in Orlando’s Doctor Phillips Lake Nona areas and Lake Mary, Kelly Seidl said. “We’re pretty concentrated in this general Orlando area, and we’d like to spread our wings out more.”
Alongside expanding facilities, Kelly’s employee count which recently hit 100 likely will rise to 135 in the next three years, the Seidls said. Since most new Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream locations will be operated by Foxtail, the brand won’t hire directly for much of their expansion.
Also on the agenda for Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream: The team plans to buy a large, 5,000- to 10,000-square-foot production facility in the next year. The company currently produces over 2,000 gallons of ice cream per week for retail sale and wholesale from its 3,500-square-foot Corrine Drive shop, which the business owns.
In their 10-year plan, the Seidls are pursuing what they described as a “big hairy audacious goal”: starting a cow-to-cone farm in Central Florida. Kelly Seidl worked on her aunt and uncle’s dairy farm in upstate New York as a child and long has wanted to use that experience in service of her business, she said.
The couple recently toured a cow-to-cone facility in Michigan. There’s still a long way to go, the Seidls said, but they’re learning more about farming in Florida to progress toward that dream.
Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream has an expansive recipe book of 150-200 signature and featured flavors, with 24 available in scoop shops at a given time. Customers can choose from classic flavors like blondie, chocolate, cookie monster and pistachio, or limited-time-only offerings such as Kit Kat, key lime pie and chocolate fluffer nutter.
The homemade ice cream brand launched from owners Kelly and Scott Seidl‘s home in 2013. When they first started, dairy delivery trucks from St. Petersburg wholesale company Diary-Mix Inc. would meet them in parking lots to drop off fresh milk they then would turn into ice cream with a home machine. They stocked their garage with freezers and refrigerators to sustain the operation.
The Seidls started setting up ice cream carts at local events in 2014. “We did really well,” Kelly Seidl said. “People kept asking, ‘Where can I buy this?’ ”
From there, the couple launched their first ice cream truck, bought off Craigslist, in March 2015. “We went to ball fields, dance studios. Whether we made $5 or $500, we went and just got our name out there,” Kelly Seidl said.
By July 2015, they had taken over another couple’s ice cream operation on Corrine Drive. A second shop opened on Fern Creek Avenue in 2017, and the third location in Oviedo launched in 2020.
The breakneck opening speed has meant lightning-fast revenue growth, too, Scott Seidl said. Their revenue has tripled since 2019.
Still, the Covid-19 pandemic has presented some challenges, the Seidls said. During the early days of the pandemic, they had to reduce their hours and cut back on staff as their catering business was walloped. 
But by two weeks into the pandemic, people wanted ice cream, Scott Seidl said. “We shut down production and stopped ordering things. Then, everyone came back out to get ice cream. We basically were making ice cream 24 hours a day.”
As production bounced back, the Seidls stayed flexible. They increased deliveries through UberEats and launched a flavor-naming contest on Instagram to keep customers invested.
Though the Seidls have brought back a full staff and plan to do more hiring, rising product prices mean they’ve had to find ways to keep profit margins up. That includes raising prices two times since 2021.
Milk is among the products hit hardest by inflation, according to data from the National Restaurant Association. Milk prices rose 23.5% year-over-year in July 2022. Wholesale food prices generally have risen 15 times in the last 19 months with 13 of those price increases at least 1%, the association reported.
Despite the challenges, the Seidls are looking forward. Their goal is to launch a production facility by second-quarter 2023, though that may be delayed, Scott Seidl said.
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