5 Questions with Stephanie Groves is an ongoing series featuring local women doing interesting things that we’d like to know more about. Want to be featured? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moo & Lou Frozen Treats and More is no ordinary treat truck. Paula Strauss’ company aspires to spread kindness and happiness, in honor of her daughter “Maddie Moo,” who tragically passed away in 2014 — but has left behind a legacy of kindness and love.
“When you see our trailer at events, we hope that it makes you smile and your experience with us brings you joy! We want to give you the love and happiness that Maddie brought to us every day that she was with us; she was truly such a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day,” Paula said.
We spoke with Paula to learn more about the business that she runs with the help of her husband David Strauss and their daughter Lacy Ross, and their exciting expansion plans.
You are the founder and owner of Moo & Lou Frozen Treats and More. Why did you start your company?
We started our non-profit, Maddie Smiles Random Acts of Kindness, in memory of our Maddie Moo that passed away unexpectedly due to complications of gall bladder surgery. Every year for her “Angelversary,” we’ve gone to all of the Lawrence Fire Stations, LPD (all shifts), and the Lawrence Government Center (for government staff/Lawrence city employees) and given them ice cream to say thank you for protecting our city and all of their hard work.
The first few years of doing this, we were paying for these treats, and our “kindness tour” was getting expensive. My husband came up with the idea that we start our own frozen treat business instead of trying to find someone to donate their treats and time. So, that’s what we did! Now, not only do we celebrate our first responders and government/city employees, we are able to celebrate our community and spread Maddie’s smile. Moo & Lou’s is our “for-profit” side of our non-profit where a portion of our profits go to Maddie Smiles to help us spread and inspire kindness!
What sort of treats do you offer, and what are your favorites?
We serve shaved ice with an awesome flavor station that you can use to make your own masterpiece, lemonade slushies (made with love), XXX Root Beer Floats (with root beer locally made in West Lafayette), Sundae’s Homemade Ice Cream (made locally on the NE side of Indy), apple cider slushies, and seasonal gourmet hot cocoa. I LOVE that we serve Triple XXX Root Beer and Sundae’s Homemade Ice Cream! When you buy from us, not only are you supporting our small/local business, you are supporting XXX, Sundae’s, and Tuttle Orchards, too! Plus, helping spread smiles through acts of kindness.
I heard that you use the funds from your company for random acts of kindness. That’s awesome! What sort of acts have you funded?
Yes! Moo & Lou Frozen Treats helps pay for craft supplies for when we do visits at schools, crafts at the farmers market, flowers for our Maddie Smiles Acts of Kindness Day, candy for Maddie Smiles Easter Eggsravaganza, toys for the Maddie Smiles Annual Toy Drive benefiting Riley Hospital, kindness signs, and so much more.
We have also donated 100% of products and/or sales to the Republic Airways Annual Plane Pull (benefiting Indiana Children’s Wish Fund, A Kid Again, Riley, and Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital), Be Brooks Brave and Shave (pediatric cancer), Spina Bifida Walk-N-Roll, Laundry and More Community Day, and “Friends Giving Back” benefiting people experiencing homelessness. We also are able to do “Dine to Donate” for other organizations and schools.
What is the significance of the “Moo & Lou” of your company name?
Moo & Lou are our daughters, Maddie “Moo” and Lacy “Lou.” Anyone that has lost a child knows how important it is to keep their memory alive. Maddie Moo and Lacy Lou were so close and each other’s favorite people! Most events that we do, you will get to see Lacy Lou’s beautiful smile in the serving window. Starting Moo & Lou’s gives us another way to spread Maddie’s smile and kindness to others and we know she is always right there with us.
What are your future plans for your business?
We have big plans starting to happen: We are in the process of opening our first brick-and-mortar! This will be our home base for Maddie Smiles, too. Our plan is to make this a very family-friendly place where people just want to hang out and make memories. We will have Maddie Smiles nights where there will be free kindness crafts, themed nights, game nights, musicians, and much more all while enjoying some delicious frozen treats. We are also looking into getting a second treat truck!
Stephanie Groves is the Executive Editor of Indy Maven and her daughter LOVES Moo & Lou’s shaved ice.
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