BATON ROUGE, La. (KPLC) - Boombox Frozen Pops and Ice Cream, a Lake Charles business, has been operating out of Baton Rouge since Hurricane Laura made landfall, thanks to the LSUAg Center Food Incubator and LSU Dairy Store.
“When the hurricane hit, we had no power and no water,” owner Nick Villaume said-- two utilities necessary to produce ice cream and popsicles. But according to Villaume finding a facility licensed for dairy was also important to continue business.
The LSU Dairy Store on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge is licensed for just that. The store, which is closed due to the pandemic, is keeping its doors open to help local businesses.
“He [Villaume] told me what had happened and I said we’re going to do whatever we can to help you,” said Chuck Boeneke, associate professor for LSU’s School of Nutrition and Food Sciences.
Boeneke made sure Villaume had a space to work.
“It’s a good feeling that you’re able to help somebody,” Boeneke said. “Especially somebody who’s been impacted like that.”
Villaume said he was able to begin work in Baton Rouge shortly after the storm, and save about 30 days worth of ice cream by storing it in the freezers at the dairy store. “But the popsicles we had to let melt and it was a lot of popsicles.”
Now he’s recovering – he’s made about 3,000 pops since Boombox began working out of the Dairy Store.
“With the exception of maybe one flavor of pop, we’ve seen zero interruption to our supply,” Villaume said.
In addition, Villaume is able to make popsicles and ice cream for his second location, which just opened in Baton Rouge.
“They were very accommodating,” Villaume said. “They were like, ‘Just whatever you gotta do to get up and running again, come on over, move on in.’ So, they’ve really bent over backwards for us over here.”
The Boombox business is growing, and Villaume believes they’ve outgrown the downtown Lake Charles location. He said he is hoping to open a South Lake Charles location within the next 30 days.
If you’re interested in learning more about the LSU Ag Center Food Incubator, visit lsuagcenter.com.