Keller — When the three King siblings learned their parents had bought them a business to run, they all had very different reactions.Jessi King, 17, was mad because she thought, “There goes my summer.”Noah King, 14, was worried about the weight of all the responsibility. “I thought they were crazy,” he said.Amy King, 10, was thrilled. “I just said, ‘Awesome!’” After all, what kid wouldn’t want to own her own ice cream shop?Late last spring, parents John and Beccy King decided to open Beans & Cream, a gourmet coffee, ice cream and snow cone shop on Pecan Street just a few doors down from the Christian Life Center, the church where John King is pastor, as a learning experience for their children. The previous owner of the shop, then named Cowboy Cones and Candy, had approached John, offering a good deal for a quick sale.“The kids had never worked retail before,” John King said. “The idea is if I can teach them business before they got too much education, the education will enhance the business.”Now six months later, the kids have settled into their roles. Jessi typically opens the shop and works for a little while until she goes to Tarrant County College for dual credit courses. Jessi is in charge of inventory and ordering products. The store sells ice cream from Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream in Plano.Melissa Ryan, an adult adopted daughter of John and Beccy King, runs the shop for a few hours during the day while the kids are in school. Melissa Ryan owns the Sweat Shed, a personal training gym located next to the church. Noah mans the counter after school most days. Family members say he is the best sales person. Noah also came up with “Tardis Thursdays,” a promotion for fans of “Doctor Who.” On some Thursday evenings, the shop will show an episode of “Doctor Who” and give a 10 percent discount to patrons who wear fan gear.Amy markets the shop, often going with her dad to events and around the neighborhood to drum up business and pass out fliers. Amy also interviews local artists who can display a few pieces for sale on the shop walls.The parents are seeing the fruits of the siblings’ labor.Beccy King said, “They’re learning the basics of business, understanding how to relate to people. Everything comes down to communication skills. I just think it’s very important, no matter who walks in the door, that they be able to relate to them and serve them.”Both Beccy and John King said that running the store had boosted the confidence of their kids. John King said the experience has been especially good for Noah and Amy, who are dyslexic.John King said, “It’s the greatest single thing I could have done to help them see how much they can accomplish.”Jessi said her friends gave her weird looks at first when she told them she ran a shop.“I avoided telling them because I was so uncomfortable with the idea,” she said. “Along the way, I realized they think I’m pretty cool because sometimes they get free snow cones. It turned out to be really nice because I’m kind of the cool kid.”Of course, running a business is no picnic.Jessi said that cleaning up after kids spill on a floor she just mopped is the most aggravating part of the job.Noah said he doesn’t like the slow days when customers are few.Amy said, “I don’t really like when people come into the shop and they’re grumpy. I’m smiling and trying to make their day better. They’re supposed to be happy; they’re getting ice cream.”
If you go...
Beans & Cream Gourmet Coffee and Ice Cream
Pecan Street, just east of Main
7 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday, 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Closed Sunday