Editor's note: Muncie Origins is a Ball State Daily News series profiling various businesses that originated in Muncie.
For some, mixing and freezing heavy cream into dessert may seem daunting, but for Terry Budaj, her process of creating ice cream is “kind of magic[al].”
“It starts with a vanilla base. Then it’s kind of adding in flavoring whipped up and whipped around. Then [it’s] tested,” Budaj said.
Budaj hopes to expand her 47 flavors of soft serve into 75 options to go along with her 18 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream and sundaes made to order at Ice Cream By Accident.
“I was in a terrible accident and hit a telephone pole,” Budaj said. “When I finally settled three years later, I wanted to buy my own ice cream shop. My husband [and I] were like, ‘I don’t know what to name it,’ you know going back and forth. Finally, that’s it: ‘Ice Cream By Accident.’ So I had my truck, but I couldn’t hit a telephone pole, so I choose an ice cream cone.”
Before the accident, Budaj owned an ice cream truck that she worked as a side job on weeknights and weekends. Her full time job was a healthcare position in Indianapolis, which was a five hour commute for her from Hartford City, Indiana.
After hitting the telephone pole, Budaj decided she wanted to open an ice cream storefront for her side business.
Budaj and her husband found the space they now occupy on Walnut Street, but they continued looking because the price was too high.
“We had come to look at this shop, and I noticed that it was on Walnut Street,” Budaj said. “[While we were looking,] I was praying, saying, ‘Lord, I don’t know if I can keep commuting to Indianapolis everyday.’ That five hour commute was about to kill me.
“A year later, we came back, and the building was still for sale. So I said, ‘Honey, it’s on Walnut Street. The address is our anniversary 1231. It’s like destiny.’ Now, I work on Walnut [Street], and I live on Walnut [Street].”
Budaj officially bought Ice Cream By Accident in March 2018 and were able to open the doors by May.
In her store, Budaj said she still gets the same reactions from customers that she used to get when she drove her ice cream truck to different nursing homes.
“I give really big portions,” Budaj said. “They go, ‘oh my gosh I wasn’t expecting that.’ It’s just different for a child. We have the old dip tops where you dip [the ice cream] down in chocolate and hand it to them. It’s just watching the faces of the individuals.”
In order to keep pleasing customers, one goal Budaj has for herself is to create an experience for everyone. She offers vegan, lactose intolerant and sugar free options amongst her variations of ice cream.
Additionally, Budaj challenges herself to learn new recipes for customers who have personal requests. She researches the flavor, buys the ingredients she needs and works on perfecting the taste for the next time they come in.
Beyond working with the community, Budaj and her husband Richard hope to make Ice Cream By Accident a family business. Richard added that their 5-year-old grandson already said he wants to work at the shop one day.
On the side of the building at Ice Cream By Accident, there are handprints accompanied by the words, “Hand in hand, we will grow this community.” Terry said she continues to live by this motto and constantly apply it to the ice cream shop so everyone feels welcome.
“I can’t give you money, but I can feed you,” Richard said. “We have little kids that come by, and they don’t have the money. You know we’ll feed them; we aren’t going to turn them away, but don’t go telling all your friends that.”
Contact Pauleina Brunnemer with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @pauleina15.