Go! Ice Cream jumps headfirst into downtown Ypsilanti

Doors are opening and closing for Rob Hess today. Closing: his career in media at the University of Michigan. Opening: his career as a small business owner slinging scoops of happiness, i.e. ice cream.

"This coming Wednesday (today) is my last day at U-M," Hess says. "It (Go! Ice Cream) need my attention all of the time."

Hess has been building up Go! Ice Cream for the last few years. He is on the precipice of opening the company's first brick-and-mortar home this summer in downtown Ypsilanti. It's the classic story of a person turning a hobby into a side business and then into their full-time job.

Hess has worked as a videographer at U-M for years. It is work he loved and at a place with great pay and benefits. It’s the type of job many people would never want to leave. Hess went part-time in that position last May so he could put more focus on building Go! Ice Cream, but it allowed him to keep one foot in his day job. Today he dives headfirst into self-employment.

"Following your dreams can be really scary," Hess says. "That has been true for quitting my job and building Go! Ice Cream. I have never done anything like this."

Go! Ice Cream is building out its first permanent home at 10 N Washington, activating a vacant storefront and deserted alley in downtown Ypsilanti. The project will include space for ice cream production and a ice cream storefront for retail sales. Hess estimates Go! Ice Cream is about 92 percent finished.

"We're probably four weeks away," Hess says. "It's a matter of finishing up some last-minute details."

The fun begins in earnest after the construction is finished. Hess loves that selling ice cream consistently puts a smile on the faces of his customers.

"That mitigates the fear," Hess says. "This is such a fun business to be in."

Source: Rob Hess, owner of Go! Ice Cream
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Related Company