Wilmot shop is a family affair

By Jason Arndt

Adam Hansen’s crazy – and sweet – idea has been a boon for the western Kenosha County community of Wilmot.

That idea, Hansen’s Ice Cream Parlor, opened in June and has grown exponentially since.

Since the June 3 opening, the ice cream shop has accumulated nearly 3,000 likes on its Facebook page, which has drawn a five-star rating and 286 reviews.

Hansen’s Ice Cream Parlor, Wilmot, has been growing since it opened June 3. The family includes (top row, from left) owners Kelly and Adam Hansen; (middle) children Erin and Julia; and (bottom) children Walker and Madelyn (Submitted/The Report).

According to Kelly Hansen, Adam’s wife, she listened to his proposed idea about four years ago, and thought it was crazy.

“It was his idea, and he had approached me about it around four years ago when our kids were little,” said Kelly, who has four children with Adam. “I was like, ‘Are you out of your mind?’”

The Hansens met while Kelly attended graduate school in Milwaukee, where Adam is originally from, but decided to start a family in western Kenosha County.

Their children are Julia, 15; Erin, 14; Madelyn, 12 and Walker, 10.

Although she admitted it was a crazy idea, an opportunity presented itself in Wilmot, when a property at 11323 Fox River Road went up for rent.

“This building became available for rent and I thought, our kids are a little bit older, so let’s go for it,” Kelly said.

Adam, who is a semi-truck driver in the day, wanted to open an ice cream shop as a fun endeavor.

“I wanted something fun, and (a chance to) make people happy,” Adam said. “Everybody loves ice cream, so that is the direction we ended up going.”

About a month before the business opened, Kelly launched the Facebook page, which introduced prospective customers to the Hansen family.

Like Adam’s idea, Kelly was surprised to see the rapid growth on social media. She said customers tracked the progress.

“Social media has been our best friend, I launched a Facebook page about a month before we opened and it just took off,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. People followed our progress.”

When it opened for business, customers already knew the Hansen family, all employed at the ice cream shop across the street from Wilmot Auto Service.

“The first weekend, it was just me, my husband and our four kids,” she said. “People got to know us.”

The Hansens believe the family-friendly atmosphere has helped the relatively new business thrive.

Additionally, the sweet taste of Cedar Crest ice cream bolsters its path to success.

“The ice cream is awesome. We have Cedar Crest, a local company,” Adam said. “I just think the atmosphere we created for the community – a family-based business – helps.”

The Hansens, who lived in Trevor for nine years, moved to the Wilmot community four years ago.
According to Kelly, the community reminds her of Grayslake, Ill., where she grew up and worked at a diner to pay for her education.

“Wilmot reminds me of what Grayslake was like growing up,” she said. “I was a car hop from about 14 until I was 21, all through high school and college.”

The experience, she said, motivated her to pay it forward and offer local students the same opportunity she had.

The business currently employs 11 students who are off on Fridays to attend high school sporting events.

“High school is only four years and I want them to have all of the fun that they can,” Adam said. “It is very important to us, it is all about the kids, and their school.”

Kelly, a former school social worker in Gurnee, acknowledged the need for student employees to support their school.

“Kids are always looking for something fun to do and something fun that keeps them out of trouble,” she said.

The Hansens, meanwhile, said the business does not accept tips, and instead donates any extra money given to them to local charities, including The Sharing Center in Trevor.


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