I'm 34 years old and from what I understand there was a time, back in the day, when a person wanted to enjoy a good ol' fashioned ice cream sundae, they went to the local ice cream shop (or parlour as some were called) where a fresh-faced employee dressed in a red and white striped apron and paper hat would construct an ice cream sundae to their exact specifications. These creations were limited only by the imagination of the consumer. If you wanted a little bit of everything, you could get a little bit of everything. If you only wanted one topping, you had the freedom to make it happen.

Although the red and white striped aprons and hats may be gone, there are still several of these types of ice cream shops in the Evansville area with each offering their own variation on the timeless ice cream sundae. But there's a new kid in town with a fresh idea on this classic treat.

Over the course of the past several months, two modern day ice cream shops have opened their doors in the Evansville area. I've been to both and although they are two separate companies, the layouts of each are quite similar. Both offer delicious ice cream and are decorated in bright, fun colors. Both also employ young people who periodically will look up from their smartphones to take your money. But the one thing you immediately notice upon walking into either business is the wall of ice cream makers and toppings bar in the dining area. That's right, these modern day ice cream shops are D-I-Y.

And therein lies the genius. Outside of maintaining the register and wiping down a table or counter top from time to time, the employees have no hand in what I consider the bulk of the work, actually making the sundaes (which you pay for by weight). By blinding us with bright colors along with an atmosphere of  "fun & creativity", these two companies have duped us into paying them to do their jobs (although one place had a tip jar next to the register which I thought was pretty gutsy)! Talk about living the American dream! As the old saying goes, "the best ideas are stolen." So what other ventures could this business model be applied to? Here's a few I came up with:


Dining Out


The Pitch:

If this concept works for dessert, why couldn't it work for the main course? At "Ryan's U-Cook-It, each table doubles as a flat top grill with the menu consisting of raw meats and vegetables. Simply pick the main dish and side items you want and a server will bring it to you raw complete with the proper cookware to prepare it the way you want it.

Why it Works:

  1. You have total control over how your food is prepared. Ordering a steak medium-rare only to have it come back medium-well because the cook was trying to cook 5 different steaks 5 different ways at the same time would be a thing of the past. This way if it's overcooked, it's your fault.
  2. I make money while you do the work.


Lawn Care

The Pitch:

Lawn Mower

Your lawn is getting out of hand and it's time to mow, but the idea of dragging out the 20-year old, rusting push mower your in-laws gave you when you bought your first house 5 years ago doesn't sound like much fun. That's where "Ryan's U-Mow-It" comes in. I'll bring a shiny, new riding lawn tractor with flames painted on the side to your home for you to use and charge you for the amount of time you use it.

Why it Works:

  1. You need your lawn mowed
  2. You don't want the to be the embarrassment of the neighborhood with your beat up old rust bucket of a mower (which also billows smoke from the oil it burns and has a chunk missing from one of the wheels that makes it even more difficult to push).
  3. I make money while you do the work.


Personal Grooming

Beauty Salon

The Pitch:

You want to look your best for whatever the case may be, but you don't have access to all the product you want or need to use. Simply stop by "Ryan's U-Style-It" to use a wide array of gels, pastes, and sprays along with a large variety of makeup. If I don't have it...you don't need it. Each product will be weighed on a digital scale before and after use. You pay only for what you use.

Why it Works:

  1. One of the most important things to humans in general is our appearance, but the cost of good products can add up quickly. "Ryan's U-Style-It" gives you the opportunity to use high-end, quality products (which I get at a discount price because I buy in bulk) without having to purchase an entire bottle or tube.
  2. I make money while you do the work (are you noticing the trend here?).


I realize that by throwing these ideas out there without having official copyrights or trademarks make them vulnerable to rip-off by you or someone else. With that said, if one of my ideas becomes the basis for someone else's American dream, then I'll sleep just fine.

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