I was always taught that showing up is half the battle in life. If there is one thing I have learned over and over the last few years, there is much truth behind those words. There will be good days, there will be bad days, there will be days to exist, but no matter what, you have to show up. You have to believe in the success and possibility of the dream if you want others too. I opened churn in October 2015, and have been showing up ever since. It is not simply my passion for making ice cream or interest in finding new ways to grow that propel me, but the constant interactions with customers and employees, the relationships that have been formed, the lessons that have been learned. No matter what happens tomorrow, I would not trade any of my yesterdays with churn.
churn started from an idea of offering lots of yummy homemade ice cream flavors. Since I was a child, I have always been willing to trade any food for dessert. In particular, I have been an ice cream fanatic my whole life, not simply because I think it is a treat that takes your mind off things, but I also went for ice cream with my family often as a child, and it was always an outing of good vibes. As I grew older, I grew bored with the same old flavors and offerings elsewhere, and decided to put my ice cream knowledge to use. I went to college and graduated with a degree in Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Accounting and spent about ten years after graduation in public accounting then the corporate world. While doing so, I ran a seasonal soft-serve ice cream shop, Kelley’s Dari-Delite, which had one location in Bethel Park, PA and a second in Shaler, PA. The shop in Bethel Park was started in 1999, with my parents, and they found it important to teach the meaning of chasing the American dream to my brother and I. I started the one in Shaler when I graduated college, and it ran 6 seasons, closing after its last season in 2016 that overlapped with churn due to the time commitment churn was quickly in need of. Though it closed, I loved every minute of Kelley’s Dari-Delite on Babcock Blvd., the people, staff and the basic environment, but eventually time was too scarce.
When I decided to open churn, I chose a location and opted to be in charge of the buildout. I had no background in construction, besides growing up in a house with a father and brother who fixed everything themselves, but I figured this would be the time to learn. I will not say I was wrong, but it definitely took much more time than I budgeted. Two months turned into four, four months turned into six. After countless hours though, our grand opening happened October 30, 2015. I was committed...forward I went from that point on. The first year went like the blink of an eye, and I learned as much as possible…from employees, from staff, from my own mistakes. I remember being asked that year if I would ever expand or open another location to which I quickly responded, no. Today, there are 3 churn locations, I love the buildout process, and I thrive on growth, both within our walls and out. I can honestly say I do not know what the future may hold, but I can promise this. I will work tirelessly to make it yummy. Although the last few years have been some of the most rewarding professionally, they have been through some of my most challenging personally.
Ten years ago I was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm that I had an internal coiling procedure done to heal. After surgery, my chronic migraines persisted, but it seemed like the worst obstacle was over. In 2020, I was diagnosed with 2 more aneurysms, and this time needed open brain surgery. Since the craniotomy was not much of a choice, I went in not fully researching what I was in for. I can tell you, after going through that; I might be invincible now. If there is ever a possibility you might need brain surgery, do not read the next few sentences, but let me tell you, it was the most painful experience of my life. Besides pain, you have to get used to your new norm, which is much slower than your old norm. I will be honest, your head scars take very long to heal, your head is always itchy, there are no good hair days anymore, hats and headbands are your new best friend, your energy level is weak, and doing tasks that used to be minimal are now all that you can handle. Accepting the limitations was the hardest part of the battle for me. I am forever grateful they discovered the aneurysms at the stage they were, and will continue to strive to be even more grateful for my accomplishments and relations considering, but it was an adjustment that was not easy. If you ever forget to count your blessings, besides the 2020 reminders in general; I can certainly add, things are pretty great all and all.
If I could use my past to teach others a few words, I would preach this:
· Always show up, it’s the forever step 1.
· Always do your best, no matter what, because if you gave your best, you succeeded.
· You are so much stronger than you think.
· In today’s world, no matter what you think or hear, as a woman, you have to fight harder, play louder, and stand longer to get noticed. It is not fair, but the glory of success is still as awesome.
· You can do whatever you want, if you are willing to work hard, never give up and be bold.
· You are awesome, do not let anyone tell you otherwise, ever.
follow along as a I continue on at kelleycosta.com