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Millie’s Ice Cream and Field to Fork partner up in downtown Franklin

Feb 28, 2024

Field to Fork owner Matt Lauver stands next to Millie’s owners Jesse Angel and Samantha Angel outside their shared storefront on Wednesday in Franklin.

The new mashup of Field to Fork and Millie’s Ice Cream Co. is a concept that is strange in theory, but wonderful in practice, owners say.

“It is confusing on paper; an ice cream and a meat shop, it just doesn’t sound appealing. But when you walk in, you think, ‘Oh wow, this makes sense!’” said Jesse Angel a co-owner of Mille’s.

Upon the first step into the store, aromas of sweet sodas and chilled ice cream fill the air. Look to your left, and you can shop for local produce and seasonings sourced from nearby farms and companies within 50 miles of Franklin. Look to your right, and you can grab a rootbeer float, or have a homemade waffle cone with Superman ice cream.

The building at 90 W. Jefferson St. has been through a lot of changes in recent months. Former owners Sarah and Corey Campbell opened up their Field to Fork storefront in 2021, where they sold local goods and sandwiches for several years before welcoming their most recent child. During this time, they let Millie’s use their commercial kitchen for cleaning purposes, allowing them to have a physical space while still operating exclusively as a food truck.

Once the Campbells decided to step back from the business, they offered to sell the building space to Samantha and Jesse Angel to fulfill their lifelong dream of having a storefront.

That didn’t mean the end of Field to Fork. They handed the business off to Matt Lauver, who is a former employee of the Campbells.

Thus they created a partnership; so Field to Fork could to continue its presence downtown, and Millie’s could create a space open to Franklin’s many small businesses.

They now coexist in one storefront. The owners want local residents to know that both businesses still run independently, but they work together to keep both businesses thriving. If Lauver is the only person up front and someone comes in for ice cream, he said he’s always happy to help. Vice versa, Samantha Angel said she feels the same way.

They use different cash registers, but they share the same dream: to make an impact on Johnson County.

A view of 90 W. Jefferson St., the storefront shared by Millie’s and Field to Fork, on Wednesday in downtown Franklin.

Field to Fork owner Matt Lauver stands next to Millie’s owners Jesse Angel and Samantha Angel outside their shared storefront on Wednesday in Franklin.

Couple business owners Samantha and Jesse Angel laugh while posing in front of their ice cream cooler in Franklin on Wednesday.

Field to Fork Future

Lauver said he wants to expand Field to Fork’s offerings once again. Right now, there is produce, dried goods and some selections of milk and meat. His goal is to offer more unique produce and bring in new products, like garlic.

With all the changes of the last year, his biggest challenge has been sourcing new produce. To compete against supermarkets, his main goal is to offer fruits and vegetables during unlikely months. For example, his goal is to offer tomatoes in the spring instead of the summer and fall.

“It’s just tricky because I have to have some uniqueness,” Lauver said. “I have to find an angle, you know? It might be price, it might be quality.”

Instead of trying to stock up his inventory as much as possible, his goal has been to create relationships with local farmers, asking them to diversify their planting time to set Field to Fork apart from other grocery shops.

Millie’s Future

The Angels said in the coming months, they want to grow their relationship with the community, while also growing their business in Johnson County.

The couple offers a rental space in their storefront that can be rented out for parties. The rental comes with scoops of ice cream and a quiet, fun place to relax, for a total of just under $200. Millie’s also has an ice cream truck and a pancake popper truck, both also available for rent.

“Here, what we really wanted to do is offer something that is affordable and fun,” Jesse Angel said.

Millie’s also offers fun, interactive opportunities for its customers. One of the most popular is their create your own dessert giveaway.

“We hand draw a name, you pick what kind of dessert you want to create, you come in-store and we make it for you and post your photo on socials,” Samantha Angel said. “That kid gets that dessert free for a week.”

In growing their business, they also want to grow their relationship with Franklin’s residents.

“I’m trying to kind of hone in on the community of it all,” Samantha Angel said with a smile. “Everyone is welcome.”

Field to Fork FutureMillie’s Future