Success Is “SWEET” For One Young Entrepreneur

By Jennifer Wentz The Evening Sun, Hanover, Pa.

The future site of Half Pint Creamery is located off of Biglerville Road outside of Gettysburg. Trish Motter must be doing something right.

Only a year after opening Half Pint Creamery in McSherrystown, the 24-year-old entrepreneur plans to open a second ice cream shop in Cumberland Township.

"It came a little sooner than I had planned," she said with a laugh.

Half Pint's second store, tucked into a former bank building at 1101 Biglerville Road, will open around June 1 if all goes well, Motter said. The hours and selection will be the same as the McSherrystown shop, and outdoor seating for up to 100 people will be ready by the end of the summer.

So how did Motter make plans for a second store at an age when many young adults can't even manage a mortgage?

It involved a lot of long days, encouragement from loved ones and a little bit of luck, she said.

After taking a year of business management courses at Millersville University, and realizing college did not appeal to her, Motter left school to pursue her dream of being her own boss. She spent two years planning, researching and saving money before opening Half Pint's McSherrystown location last March.

The store, she said, was more popular than she could have imagined. Thanks to a post on Reddit, a link-sharing website, she was inundated with emails from interested customers days before she opened. The store's popularity continued through the spring and summer as Motter worked 80-hour weeks to hire employees, serve customers and mix 140 flavors of homemade ice cream.

It was exactly the kind of job she was looking for.

"I'd rather work 80 hours per week than 40 hours for someone else," she said.

Even then, the idea of opening a second store was in the back of her mind, and the Gettysburg area was near the top of her list as friends and family begged her to open a store closer to her hometown of Biglerville.

She casually investigated commercial properties as they came on the market, she said, with no plans of pursuing them until she had settled in more in McSherrystown. Then she found a tiny vacant business in Cumberland Township that was too good to pass up.

Although the shop lacks space for indoor seating, customers can still order their ice cream in a small area inside the store before taking it outside. A large parking lot has space for plenty of cars and buses, and the shop is only a few minutes away from the Gettysburg battlefields.

But the building needed work. That's where Travis Sentz, Motter's customer-turned-boyfriend, came in.

Sentz and Motter started dating about a year ago after he bought ice cream at Half Pint's McSherrystown store. Because 80-hour weeks leave little time for dating, the couple spent their first date working in the shop.

When Motter made plans to open a second store, Sentz didn't hesitate to help. Sentz said he left nursing school and put in his two weeks notice at his hospital job in March. Over the past few months, he has helped Motter renovate the shop by putting up and tearing down walls, laying tile and doing other necessary tasks to make the shop ready for June.

The couple plans to co-manage the two stores' operations and roughly 40 total employees. Although their idea of a date is sometimes making the next day's ice cream at 2 a.m., Motter said, she wouldn't have it any other way.

"Once you start doing what you love, those kinds of people walk into your life," she said.

Half Pint Creamery is hiring for its McSherrystown and Cumberland Township stores. For more information, visit www.halfpintcreamery.com.

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