Imagine saving your money and opening a small business and then having a pandemic shut you down just weeks later. That’s what happened to Le’day Grant and her store MyKings Ice Cream at 29th and Colorado Boulevard in North Park Hill.
“It was really hard for us being a new business,” she said about the month long shutdown. “We just closed, and so not only did I think I had wasted all of my invested money, but also, it was like a heartbreak. It was like, you know, what am I going to do?”
Grant created and built MyKings alone, while also working as a personal banker where she helps to create loan options and financial plans for customers.
“It was really tough for me because I did it by myself. I did not really have support from others. So, it was a struggle because we already did not have employees. I worked a full-time job so I couldn’t fully commit to work in an ice cream shop, not knowing if I was going to make money. And I still have to pay my bills at home.”
Grant is raising four children. She chose the name MyKings after her four year old son, MyKing. Grant also has a one-year-old boy, and twin three-month-old boys. The inspiration behind the opening of MyKings, is to build generational wealth for her children.
“It’s like the hardest thing to be a black man in America,” said Grant. “I want to be able to create a foundation to where they don’t have to go with the statistics of not being anything, not having that support, and stopping cycles of what happened in our past, to create a different future for my children.”
MyKings is Grant’s sweet side hustle. “My mission is building the community one scoop at a time. So, I wanted to create a fun place where people can come enjoy, have dates, and have activities.”
“I always like making desserts,” said Grant. “Before I even opened the shop, I craft different types of cupcakes, and I make funnel cakes at home. I feel like I’m a sweets person, I make a lot of different treats and I felt I can incorporate a lot of those things within my ice cream shop.”
“I didn’t really have the knowledge upfront, but I knew I had like the money to put something together,” she said. “They opened up a lot of resources for small businesses, newer businesses and you know, just giving people opportunities to learn more, and adjust to the changing times.”
MyKings is a unique, welcoming ice cream shop. From the outside, you immediately notice the banner hanging from the windows that reads, “Building the community one scoop at a time.” The shop’s walls are painted in bright shades of pink and blue that radiate feelings of summer, even when there are several inches of snow outside.
MyKings features several unique ice cream flavors including Golden Oreo, and Superman. But Grant said, “We are really known for our shakes.”
“We have a banana pudding shake,” said Grant. “That’s like the number one sold shake. That’s one of the most popular items that we sell at our shop.”
Grant said that MyKing loves that his mom owns an ice cream shop. “He really loves the fact that he has an ice cream shop, and he actually does chores when he is here with us,” she said. “He definitely knows that this is something that is in place for him.”
Besides serving up sweets and activities for the kids, like lick and paint, Grant is also giving back to the community by serving up lessons in money management. Her job in banking has influenced her to want to provide financial literacy education to anyone in the community that is interested, especially people of color.
“I want to create a financial literacy program in the shop because I work in banking as my full-time job. So, to be able to just to teach youth about financial situations like how to save money, opening accounts, and how not to mess up their credit,” said Grant.
“It just hurt my feelings to see so many people not having access to what I’ve seen other people have access to,” she said. “I would love to provide the resources to the people that want to learn and want to understand how they’re able to save money.”
Le’Day Grant is more than just a business owner. She is women, a mother, and an advocate for her community. She wants to inspire other women, and mothers to follow their dreams.
“Take that next step. You never know what will come out of you continuing the process. I do not believe in failure. I believe in different options,” said Grant. “ So, I believe that you have to stay motivated. You must put other prominent people in your life. Being a woman, a woman business owner, I believe you need to put other successful women in your corner as well.”
“Just know that you cannot do everything alone. I thought I could until I came into business with no one to work here. You just have to believe in yourself to know that good will come your way based on what you believe in. Just stand strong, stand tall, you know, use your resources. Keep trying and don’t give up.”