KATY, Texas — For 25-year-old Howdy Homemade employee Brandt Urban, Thursday's much-anticipated grand opening was about as sweet as it gets.
"It's awesome! And I'm glad it's opening in Houston," Urban said.
People lined the sidewalk early, waiting for the doors to open to the shop, which is providing employment opportunities for adults with special needs.
"I see a lot of people, and it makes me happy," he said.
On hand for the rope-cutting was Trae Tha Truth. He's not only backing the business, his teenage son, D'Nico, has special needs. Bringing awareness and changing perceptions is something that hits home for the Houston rapper.
"Now we're normalizing it where we can show ... everybody is equal,” he said. “We're giving them opportunities when they get out of school where they can actually work and do what they want to do and just blossom to be great."
In the line, members of the Katy Stars Special Olympics cheer team were excited to see some of their friends behind the counter. The moment of truth was the taste test. To no one's surprise, the ice cream didn't disappoint.
Most importantly, with the number of franchises at four and counting, it's inspired them to also apply for jobs in a space where they can create understanding feel comfortable being themselves.
"Today was a good day," one of the cheerleaders said.
Owner Rod Batson said they're hoping to open five locations in Houston and another one in San Antonio.