Visit Dayton’s vegan ice cream parlor
July 5, 2022
By Katie Aldridge
Cerenity Miller began exploring vegan ice creams when her children were diagnosed with food allergies.
Today, VeganMeltz is the region’s first fully plant-based ice cream parlor, located at 4636 Salem Ave in Trotwood.
We recently caught up with Cerenity to learn more about her company and her entrepreneurial journey.
Launch Dayton: How did your company start?
Cerenity: My children were born with food allergies, so I transitioned our diets to being vegan. Whenever we would go to birthday parties, they couldn’t eat anything, so I decided to make ice cream for them. After that, it transpired into a whole business.
Why this idea?
We could have gone to any vegan area — we didn’t have to do ice cream. I tasted a few vegan ice creams, and I wasn’t a fan of them. When I decided to make my own, I realized I could make so many different flavors. That’s when I chose to go with ice cream. There are places in Dayton that serve vegan options, but I haven’t seen a whole vegan ice cream parlor.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
Yes. I knew that I wanted to do this. I wanted to be a full-time entrepreneur by the time I was 30, and I’m 29. I made it just in time!
What identities do you bring to entrepreneurship that helped prepare you for this lifestyle?
I graduated from Wright State University with my bachelor’s degree in business marketing. That allowed me to wrap my mind around why marketing is important and who the target market is. I have friends and family members who have been entrepreneurs their entire lives. I’ve had that momentum going, so that went into knowing what I wanted to do.
What is the biggest barrier you’ve faced in entrepreneurship?
Reaching my target niche market. Often, when people hear “vegan ice cream,” their first reaction is “ew!” I had to think about my experience with trying vegan ice creams to know where their minds were going. It was hard at first to know how to reach people who are lactose intolerant or have Celiac disease. Finding those people who think they can’t have ice cream and telling them they can was the hardest thing.
Why do you love what do you?
I get to be as creative as I want to. I can come in everyday and make a new ice cream flavor if I wanted to. I’m always interested in taking my favorite desserts and seeing how they taste as ice cream. It’s so fun to think of new flavors and ways to create those flavors. It’s also fun to pull people out of their norm.
How did you get connected to the Dayton business community?
In May of 2020, I had my first pop-up event at Wright Dunbar Day. It was in the Wright Dunbar area at Tae Winston’s event. Before that I was doing deliveries. As I grew, I was able to do pop-ups, and that was my first time immersing myself into the Dayton business community.
Are there any organizations that helped you on your entrepreneurial journey?
There are so many pop-up events in Dayton that I have attended that I can’t name them all, but those helped so much. Dayton business accelerator programs. I’ve been in the Dayton Retail Lab; I’m in another accelerator program called Aventi Enterprises out of central Ohio. I have been involved the most with those.
How can the Launch Dayton community support you?
Visit the store! We are located at 4636 Salem Ave, Trotwood. Share my posts and stay up to date with our page. And recommend new flavors! I am always open to suggestions because my favorite flavors of ice cream aren’t everyone’s favorite flavors. We do Flavor-of-the-Week, so we can try the recommendations, and if they’re a fan favorite, we’ll put them on the permanent menu!
Connect with VeganMeltz online here.
Curious if the Downtown Dayton Retail Lab might be a fit for your business? Learn more and apply here.