Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of Julia Filirovska.
This Black 17-Year-Old Is The Youngest Restaurant Owner In Nebraska
While most 14-year-olds were playing video games and hanging out with friends, a’Ron Burns was plotting out his destiny in his high school parking lot during lunch hour.
The 17-year-old, Gen-Z entrepreneur is the owner of Roll-N-Sweetz, a rolled ice cream parlor located in north Omaha that opened in June 2022. Signature flavors like Strawberry Short Stuff, Mint For Me, and Cookie Monster are making the parlor a hit among the locals and, with Burns being the youngest restaurant owner in Nebraska, his story is quickly going viral online.
“RollNSweetz provides a custom experience that is unique and diverse to others,” Burns said. “We are inclusive to all and what we try to strive and focus on is professionalism.”
Burns had previously worked at an ice cream shop in the area that closed down but he took the knowledge he learned to start developing his own style of ice cream curation. He wanted to create a business that would allow generation wealth to trickle down through his family and make a way for his mother to leave her job. He also had seen the power of ice cream and how it had the power to transform the emotional states of anyone who buys a scoop.
“With rolled ice cream, not only is it an emotional support food but it helps people and it builds people,” he said.
The young entrepreneur had plans to be a good steward to people in his community. Through the years, he’d watched North Omaha change and the area hadn’t been an ice cream parlor in over a decade. Burns didn’t know why they’d closed but he remembers when they did, taking away access to ice cream for those living in that community.
“Ice cream is an all-season treat that everybody loves and you’re talking about people that barely have access to transportation going 20 to 30 miles away from their area for ice cream,” he said.
Roll-N-Sweetz is filling a void that dessert lovers in Omaha were missing. Even though Burns is still finishing his senior year in high school, he works hands-on with his teachers to get extensions on projects and exams so he has time to run his business. He also completed a month-long accelerated program this summer to he could graduate early this December.
Burn enlisted his former co-worker Sierra Mercer to manage the shop. The pair, along with the rest of the staff including his mother, keep the ice cream parlor running each day.
Standing firmly on core values and beliefs, Burns wants each customer at Roll-N-Sweets to feel valued. He wants them to have the ultimate ice cream experience and understand that he and his staff care about them.
“A lot of ice cream shops are here for the scoop and serve where they get you in and get out, and we’re focused on how that person feels when they walk outside that door,” he said.
Roll-N-Sweetz aims to build a connection with each customer that comes in. They build a solid rapport with every visit and write their names on the cups, slowly learning the names of repeat customers as they come to get ice cream time and time again.
“We try to make sure we go above and beyond to value who comes in that door,” he said. “And we want them to walk out like they are amazing and feel like they’re amazing.”
Burns intends to turn Roll-N-Sweetz into a nationally franchised chain. There is no established rolled ice cream brand that is internationally renowned and he plans to make his business just that. Burns also says Gen-Z is the future and that he is positioning himself to be one of the greatest, young entrepreneurs of his time. By providing a luxury ice cream experience to his guests, Burns is walking in destiny and by faith as he takes Roll-N-Sweetz around the world.
“This is everything Ray Kroc did with McDonald’s and I think he was in his 40s when he did it and I’m 17 so I think I can do a lot more in a quicker time span,” he said. “I’m ready to just build and you’re going to see a lot of me on a national scale.”