Meet Summer, Lick’s Burnet Road shop manager!
As someone who loves to travel, Summer Holeman has experienced the nuances of various cultures that differentiate them from her home. But no matter how foreign her surroundings are or how temporary her visit may be, she always finds community.
Luckily for us, Summer has rooted herself in the Lick community. Over the past three and a half years, she has risen through the ranks from shift leader to Burnet Road shop manager. But it’s not her personal achievements that she’s most proud of – it’s the relationships she’s fostered.
“We’re a family at the end of the day and I think not every company can say that,” Summer said. “I can say that some of my greatest friends are my peers and my co-workers, and also my staff at my store.”
Summer grew up in a Dallas suburb before attending Wheaton College outside of Chicago. When she returned to Texas, it was only a matter of months before she joined the Lick family. She recalls her interview with Chad and Anthony being less about her customer service skills and more of a conversation about her life and what’s important to her.
At work, she cares most about how she welcomes new hires to the company and cultivating an environment where people can learn and grow. Her responsibilities are part administrative, including setting schedules, staffing her shop, ordering supplies, working with vendors, attending meetings and having an overall understanding of the business. Other times she’s behind the counter, scooping ice cream and chatting with people. Several customers have become regulars, including a few who love to remind her of the summer when her grandparents arrived at the shop on her birthday.
“We had maybe 75 people in line. I’m scooping, and there’s three of us. It was busy,” Summer said. “Out of the corner of my eye, I see a fiery light outside the door and I get a glimpse of my grandparents standing outside the door, and they’re holding a massive birthday cake for me. I put my head back in the case and thought, ‘Oh, no.’ My grandparents don’t go quietly into the night.”
As her grandparents made their way into the shop, a couple helped them get to the front counter. Soon, everyone in line was singing Happy Birthday to her.
“The couple that let them through was one of my favorite regular couples,” Summer said. “They remember that moment. It’s one of their favorite moments at Lick, too.”
Between college and becoming shop manager, Summer lived in Thailand for 15 months. Her infatuation with the country started with a school project in 8th grade, a love that she says started out as superficial but became deep during her travels. There, she worked in a nonprofit that helped women get out of the bar district in Bangkok, as well as at a resort that helped restore Christian missionaries. Summer has also spent time in countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar, Honduras and Norway.
“I think one of my favorite feelings is being in an unknown place,” Summer said. “One of my perfect days is being dropped off in a random city I don’t know and figuring things out.”
Part of that joy stems back to her study of Anthropology and studying people. At Lick, she enjoys watching families come in and have a different ice cream experience than they’re not used to – from being weary of flavors like Roasted Beets and Fresh Mint to loving it and ordering two scoops.
“Customers think they’re getting ice cream, but you’re getting so much more,” Summer said. “It’s an invitation to get to know your wider Austin community. You’re getting ice cream, but you’re also supporting [businesses like] Mill-King and HausBar.”
To Summer, Lick is Austin and Austin is Lick. It was her introduction to what Austin’s about and its local sustainable food movement. She’s seen the company grow a lot over the last few years, but says that she’s proudest of how it’s stayed committed to using local produce.
As for her staff, Summer knows them so well that she can describe to you each of their scooping techniques to get that perfect two-ounce scoop (hers is two passes across and a good run around the circumference of the ice cream tub.) She could probably pick an employee out of a line just by watching the flick of their wrists.
Summer also loves to spend time in her apartment community in Austin, watching people play basketball and talking with others on the stairs. She’s leaning into her extroversion this year, she says. In the future, she may go abroad once again to share her faith and joy, and to “create a community that [she’s] learned so well through Lick.”