Tastefull Vegan Frozen Desserts opens shop

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Kalene McElveen said no allergy or dietary choice should prevent someone from being able to enjoy ice cream. Courtesy Tastefull Vegan Frozen Desserts

A tenant of the Grand Rapids Downtown Market’s incubator kitchen has opened a brick-and-mortar location.

Kalene McElveen, owner of Tastefull Vegan Frozen Desserts, graduated from the Downtown Market’s incubator program this month and opened a standalone dessert shop on Monday, May 30, at 2265 Porter St. SW in Wyoming.

McElveen started working in the Downtown Market’s incubator kitchen in July 2020 and launched her first products at the Fulton Street Farmers Market in spring 2021. Since then, she also placed her products at several local grocery stores, including Harvest Health in 2021 and Forest Hills Foods, Bridge Street Market and Spun Sugar Detroit earlier this year.

“The Downtown Market incubator kitchen gave me awesome experiences, and it was the safest place for an emerging business owner like me to start and scale,” McElveen said. “The Downtown Market provided low overhead costs, advice and a community of business owners who were often six months or a year ahead of me. They gave me invaluable advice on packaging, sourcing ingredients and more.”

McElveen grew up as a vegetarian in a family that “would turn an average Thanksgiving dinner into a royal feast.” To accommodate her and her brother, Kalene’s mother made special cakes so they didn’t miss out on the celebration. Her mother’s commitment to others inspired McElveen to launch Tastefull Vegan Frozen Desserts.

“Whether the food restriction is by choice or necessity, no allergy or dietary choice should prevent someone from being able to enjoy one of life’s greatest joys — ice cream,” she said.

Tastefull Vegan Frozen Desserts are free of dairy, nuts, soy, gluten, eggs and refined sugar. The company uses Michigan maple syrup as a sweetener and a coconut or fruit base for most products. The storefront in Wyoming will sell freeze pops, frozen dessert bars and soft serve ice cream.

McElveen is a 2019 Start Garden 5×5 Night winner. She used the $5,000 investment to start Tastefull Vegan Desserts.

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