Gaffney Main St. Challenge winner opens Sweet Life Creamery

GAFFNEY, SC (WSPA) – There’s not much better of a day for the grand opening of a frozen custard shop than when it’s 95 degrees.

Sweet Life Creamery, in Gaffney, is one of the three winners of the Main Street Challenge in Gaffney.

But this story goes beyond the revitalization of a downtown.

For the woman behind this shop, it’s a dream that’s been 20 years in the making.

“I gotta deal with this cause it’s got low mix,” Mandy Gates says about her custard machine.

Even a dream that’s spent two decades churning, doesn’t always have a smooth start.

“I’ve got to get these other custards started or I’m going to get in big trouble,” she says.

Especially when opening your own shop, happens to be your side job.

“I begged for this week off because I knew it was going to be a big deal,” Gates says.

On vacation from her full time quality control job at Nestle’s, but she’s working harder than ever, for a sweet dream that came true today.

With seven kids, Gates had put off her goal of launching Sweet Life Creamery. Then she won the Main Street Challenge, making it all possible.

“Quickly everyone fell in lover with her she had her plan together. So it’s been really exciting to watch that dream come true,” Leighann Snuggs, Director of the Gaffney Visitor’s Center, says.

“It’s overwhelming. This is really a fantastic feeling,” Gates says

Gates may be an extreme example, but according to a new Bankrate survey she’s one of 44 million Americans who are keeping their full time job, and have a side gig.

“Everybody at my other job is like when are you retiring, have you quite yet, but I’m like, no I’m not quitting, it’s a great job,” she says, while her husband scoops peach ice cream by her side.

“Single peaches coming up,” Jeff Gates, her husband, says.

“He has been my rock through this whole thing,” Mandy says.

Jeff has helped to make her soft serve shop a reality.

“Happy wife, happy life,” Jeff says.

Customers are happy too with this new frozen custard, not ice cream.

“She’s gonna kill it. Like this is going to be a good business,” says customer Quan Glaspy.

And they’re proud that this local working mother isn’t wasting any time.

“I think it’s amazing. And the courage that she has and the strength that she has to keep on and go for her dream, that’s amazing,” Casey Ellis, a fellow mother, says.

As the Main Street Challenge winner, Gates will get about 10,000 dollars to help sustain her business.

For now the operating hours will have to be around her work schedule, so in the evenings and on the weekend, but she hopes to have a full time staff soon.

Two other winners in Gaffney are slated to open in the coming months.

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