riverfront bliss

Mike (aka Woody) and Angie Woodburn are churning happiness one ice cream scoop at a time. After making the decision to shift careers, Woody and Angie found that creating their new lives was a lot like creating a new ice cream recipe — take what you like and leave the rest. These two best friends and sweethearts are doing what they love each and every day, living by just a few rules: adapt, lean on a higher power, and most importantly — have fun!

Meet the Woodburns

Woody: I grew up on a farm in Rockport, Indiana and graduated from South Spencer High School. But I’ve been in Southern Indiana my whole life.

Angie: I’m actually from Kentucky. I was born in Louisville and raised in Brandenburg, Kentucky. I’m one of 5 kids, and my parents and all my siblings still live in Kentucky. Then, when I married Woody, I moved to Indiana.

What's your favorite ice cream flavor?

A: My favorite flavor would be our PB&J. It’s one of our new flavors that we’ve created. We have roughly 42 right now.

W: My favorite is Salty Caramel. We start with raw sugar, melt it down, then add the cream. It’s probably the hardest one that I make, because there’s that point where sugar can burn and taste bitter. So I push it to that level before adding the cream. So it is my favorite not only because of taste but because of the effort and time it takes to make it.

How did the two of you meet? 

A: We were both obviously single, and went on eHarmony and met there, got married, and moved to New Harmony. We didn’t plan it that way, we just ended up driving through New Harmony one day on our motorcycle and just fell in love with it, and we moved there.

W: We met on eHarmony and moved to New Harmony! That’s our story!

What inspired you to start Bliss Artisan Ice Cream?

W: I was in the car business for about 15 years, and we lived in New Harmony at the time. One day, our next door neighbors asked us if we wanted to go to Mt. Vernon to grab some ice cream. And we asked where they were going and they mentioned the chain. And I was like — no, I don’t want to go 40 minutes round-trip to grab ice cream. Then I got to thinking, this is a tourist town with no ice cream. And so that’s when it started. So our idea was to make sure that we sold ice cream that was manufactured in Indiana. So we visited some different places in Indiana and we walked out of a place in Bloomington one day and Angie said, 'I think you can do this.' And so, don’t challenge me because that’s what happened! We bought some small equipment and played around with different recipes for about 10 months, and then Bliss was launched ... on a snowy day in March in 2013.

A: We were not ice cream people; we never bought it. Maybe on occasion, you’d see it in our freezer, but not very often. So it was kind of a crazy start with ice cream because we weren’t ice cream people. But we just felt like New Harmony having so many tourists coming into town and it’s an artistic town, that — hey, why don’t we do something like this. And it just kind of blew up from there.

What brought you to Mt. Vernon?

W: When we started making ice cream, we were just a small scoop shop in New Harmony. 

A: Then, we were approached by the developer of this building — here in Mt. Vernon — to come here and open our shop on the riverfront. Our first answer was no. We just didn’t feel like we could stretch ourselves that much. But once we came down, we fell in love with it. We loved what they had done to develop the riverfront, and the option of living above our business was very appealing. So we kind of took the plunge and moved our business here as well. 

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about living and working in the Southwest Indiana region?

W: I feel like one of the misconceptions of Southern Indiana, is that we’re only known for industry. Like all of the plants in Southern Indiana, whether it’s Toyota or what used to be AK Steel, or Sabic. It just seems like people have the perception that — if I’m not going to work at a factory, then there’s nothing for me in Southern Indiana. I don’t think that’s true.

Why start a business in a smaller town?

W: We choose smaller towns basically because of competition. We don’t want to go head-to-head with the big guys. We think we can make a comfortable living, and we are, keeping it in small towns. And giving that community something that they will probably never get. They’re never going to get some of the big chain restaurants in the smaller communities, and so we just chose it because of that.

How have you gotten connected in Evansville?

W: Probably the main guy that’s helped us with connections in Evansville – and he’s a big-time connection guy — is Austin Maxheimer. He has introduced us to several people indirectly. He’s our pastor at One Life West. We would meet for coffee at one of the places that sells our ice cream — Honeymoon Coffee on Lincoln and Weinbach. And, we’d just have coffee there. It was amazing how some of the connections have lead into other business ventures for us — just from sipping coffee and talking about the Lord. He’s been a huge influence in building relationships in Evansville.

What do you love most about living here?

A: I tell you what, we love the people. When we moved to New Harmony, the people in the community really embraced us. And we didn’t know anybody. He’s from the Rockport area; I’m from Kentucky — we didn’t know a soul. And so when we came here to Mt. Vernon, this community has definitely embraced us and our business. We’ve been so blessed and thankful that we’ve become friends with a lot of our customers and we have a great customer base. We feel like we have the best customers; we see some every single day. We’re just very thankful for that.

How do you define success?

W: This is going to sound cliche, but we love our careers. We truly love what we do. We’re glad that we don’t wake up in the morning and go, “Ugh, I’ve gotta go to my job.” Right?! So, I think our success is just loving what we do regardless of how much money we make. We are passionate about what we do and we don’t feel like it’s a job.

A: When he quit his job to make ice cream, I know a lot of people thought he was crazy. But it was never about the money. We just wanted to be happy in what we were doing and be together. And not have our days spent away from each other all day. And we truly think we’ve built a wonderful brand and we love what we do. It’s not about becoming rich or famous, or anything like that. It’s just about being happy, and joyful in what we do. And we truly are. We love it! Who doesn’t like ice cream?! 

What do you know for sure?

W: What we know for sure is that if we didn’t have a strong faith in the Lord and truly ask him every time we make a decision — trying to make sure it’s of our Lord and not of our flesh. But sometimes even when we get what we feel is the answer, we’re like — are you sure? We’re questioning what we feel is right, so we know that without a firm foundation in our faith, none of this — none of this would have happened.

A: I would totally agree, the one thing we know for sure, is that our business is grounded on the Lord and any decision we make, we don’t make without holding his hand and walking with the Lord. For that, we have been greatly blessed. He has blessed our business; He has blessed our marriage and our life. For Him we are grateful.