Just over a year ago, Tecia Miller took over a business she had never imagined being part of. Since then, she's discovered the health benefits of frozen yogurt (really!), the rewards of creating a place where kids and families can hang out, and just how much good a sweet treat can do for our schools.
We talked with her recently about her plans for the future (floats and parties!), including an upcoming opportunity for you to enjoy a free shave ice.
How did you get started in this business? Is this what you saw yourself doing?
Definitely not! (Laughs) When my dad was getting ready to open EzFreezee in 2014 I was a preschool teacher, working on getting my real estate license and planning to finish college. But I was laid off for the next school year. My dad asked me to be part of his team because he felt like, with my previous management experience, I could be an asset.
In November 2015 my dad and the other owner felt like they needed to move on and pursue other things. They gave me the opportunity to take over the shop. I’ve been the owner since December 2015. My goal was to keep it open another year. Goal accomplished!!!! Long story short, plans change, so I just went with this opportunity.
What is the most fulfilling part of your work?
This question is so hard! There are quite a few things, but probably the most rewarding is seeing excitement with the kids or even the adults when they come in. It’s a great feeling to give our community a fun, safe, clean and different environment to hang out in. I have met so many great people through it!
My employee Adrianne and I take pride in EzFreezee. We work hard and are passionate about this business and our customers. You may go in a lot of businesses and never see the owner or the owner actually working. I work every day, sometimes all day long. It's definitely been challenging and being a single mother I have had to make a lot of sacrifices. When I see families come in and enjoying their time or great reviews or just a simple thank you for being open… it makes this journey well worth it.
What surprises people about Ezfreezee?
How healthy frozen yogurt is for you! Frozen yogurt is a non-fat/ low fat treat with low calories. It also has probiotics, which are good for your immune system and digestive system. One of my goals for 2017 is to make our customers more aware of this.
We also offer real Hawaiian shave ice. It’s a little different from what people might expect, because the ice is shaved very finely, like snow, and it absorbs the flavor really well.
Any special plans for the future of Ezfreezee?
Hopefully by March I will be able to add floats to the menu, like Root Beer, Pineapple, and Orange.
I am excited for 2017 because I plan to promote more events in here. I just started promoting Birthday party specials. I am currently planning a painting party for kids to sign up for. I am trying to make this a fun environment and another option for kids and teens to have somewhere to go and hang out. This might include karaoke night, game night or even a movie night. I have tons of ideas. Every week I make sure I do some type of promotion.
But you’re not just about frozen yogurt, you’ve done some community work too. Tell us about that?
As a business owner, I figured it would be a great opportunity to help out. Education is very important to me – it’s so important that we keep the youth encouraged to keep up the good work. So I knew my first goal was to work with our schools. I made incentives for teachers to give their students for student of the month, reading programs or just for a special reward. I also have done special promotions for great report cards.
In February, I also promoted AntiBullying, which is coming up again on February 22. The idea is to wear a pink shirt that day to help raise awareness and end bullying. I got most schools involved and whoever wore a pink shirt received a free pink shave ice. I called the campaign “Be Kind Be Chill,” which I also kept as a motto for EzFreezee. My goal this year is to get even more schools and locals involved.
In August, I was able to receive three truckloads of items to donate to everyone who was evacuated from the fire. Our community came together, and I was amazed how many people donated.