How Lodene Turned a Laundromat into Local Dessert Shop “Sweet Sweetz”
Meet Lodene: The Who Woman Turned a Laundromat into Local Dessert Shop “Sweet Sweetz”
Can you tell us the backstory of “Sweet Sweetz” ?
Hi my name is Lodene, I am the owner of Sweet Sweetz Ice Cream & Desserts with my two daughters. “Sweet Sweetz” is my nickname that was given to me by my step-dad, he had his way of naming all 9 of us, including 8 of my siblings. I honestly believe he did this because he couldn’t remember everyone’s name. I loved all things sweet, so the name stuck!
My start was as a single parent and foster mom, I sold chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate covered pretzel sticks to raise money for supplies and activities. I lived in the area when I was younger, went to high school at Manual High School and I attended church in what’s now known as the Skyland neighborhood for over 28 years. I saw the building, thought it to be perfect to employ teens and young adults, offer leadership and entrepreneurship opportunities by opening an ice cream and dessert shop. Little did I know, it would take 2015 to 2019 to finish the renovations on the space, occupy it and be open to the public. This story will take a very long time to go through the ins and outs, the struggles and hurdles we went through to get where we are but the end result is that we transformed a laundromat into a sweet shop!
Why do you love the Skyland neighborhood for your business?
Sweet Sweetz is what is now known as Skyland Neighborhood. The North City Park area. I really love and enjoy this neighborhood because from the renovations to the door opening, we have families that did and still support us. We do the same by donating to schools, support activities, churches and private events. It’s like family! We have seen many kids grow up, some families that have moved away, changes in the neighborhood good and bad. Sweet Sweetz goal was to open our doors to everyone and provide a gathering space that the neighborhood did not originally offer, and a safe place that kids can come with or without their parents or parents can come to relax, have a meeting or just enjoy friends and family!
Are you from Denver? Why did you choose to call your neighborhood home?
Not originally. My mom and siblings moved to Denver when I was 7 years old, I graduated from Manual High School in 1981.
What are some of your favorite or most popular sweet items you sell?
My favorite: Peach Cobbler and Root Beer Floats. We have the option to create your own float, you don’t see or get that option often! Most popular: Peach Cobbler and or Key Lime Pie. Our pie shakes are becoming pretty popular as well!
How can people order your sweets?
They can order online on our website at sweetsweetz.com, call at 720-949-1896 or stop by!
Follow Sweet Sweetz at @ordermysweetz on Instagram
Any accomplishments in 2021/2022 you are most proud of?
Really, just to be still in business during this time is really an accomplishment and I thank everyone that continue to support us! We were also given many great opportunities like participating in the Taste of Broncos, Metro Caring yearly Cornucopia fundraiser, and being able to make sweets for weddings and birthdays!
How did the pandemic effect your business?
COVID really stopped us and continues to slow us from reaching a few of our goals. Not to mention the aftermath of the pandemic and the struggles of the day to day with instability in the marketplaces, supplies (not available, delayed or increased prices) and customers with safety concerns, city restrictions or lack of, and trying to accommodate and make everyone feel comfortable. We still practice safety and provide the choice to wear masks. Some customers appreciate it, but others do not. Being financially unstable makes us hesitant to hire or expand. We started Sweet Sweetz as a steppingstone to much bigger goals but I am sure we will get there with one step at a time!
How would you describe the personality or “Vibe” of Denver?
Fun, family friendly, multicultural and strong!
What are your favorite local Denver spots or places?
(Food, Nature, anything really!) It’s hard to narrow done a favorite but I do enjoy lots of our parks and open spaces!