From Hard Sciences to Soft-Serve: How Sarah Thayer Turned a Sweet Idea into a Business
Even as a teenager, Sarah Thayer was very much the self-described go-getter that she is today. Her dedication to achievement was exemplified by membership in her school’s National Honor Society chapter while balancing athletics and seizing any extracurricular opportunity afforded to her.
“I was attending school in Rhode Island studying biology. I worked really hard and took school seriously. My vision for the future was in microbiology and researching microbiomes, but I quickly found that I’m too much of a social butterfly to spend my days in a lab.”
After her decision to leave college, Sarah took time off to reconsider her career path and moved to New York City with her boyfriend who relocated for a yearlong work opportunity. It was while living there that she decided to take an online community college course to get back into an academic routine. Sarah was already familiar with Lakes Region Community College (LRCC) after having participated in their Running Start program in high school, an initiative that offers juniors and seniors the opportunity to take select college courses at a significantly reduced rate, and opted to enroll in a behavioral psychology course there. Sarah thoroughly enjoyed both the course and her instructor and was inspired by the experience to continue taking courses towards a degree in Business Management.
Upon the couple’s return to New Hampshire, Sarah enrolled at LRCC. Excited and empowered by her return to school, Sarah immediately took control of her learning experience. Access to lecture recordings enabled her to review material at her own pace, while a supportive classroom and responsive instructors created an environment where she felt fully comfortable to speak up, ask questions, and engage in a highly interactive learning environment. Although the pandemic impacted Sarah’s ability to attend classes in-person, a cohesive network of community colleges in New Hampshire paired with a helpful team of mentors meant she had a strong support system in place to help her along the way.
“I took all my classes online, which was helpful because I was also working full-time. My advisors, Scott Maltzie and Carlene Rose, were a big factor in helping me excel and were instrumental in getting me going in the right direction with the courses I needed to complete my degree in the timeframe I had set for myself. Some of the classes I needed weren’t being offered by LRCC at the time, so I ended up taking classes at Manchester Community College and NHTI-Concord’s Community College. They helped guide me to what was best for me and my schedule.”
While Sarah was busy working towards her degree in Business Management, she and her now-fiancé found themselves reflecting fondly upon their adventures in NYC and missing their favorite ice cream shop on the lower east side of Manhattan. The pair would regularly travel 45 minutes by subway just to get a taste of the shop’s unique cereal-infused milkshakes and ice cream but found there to be nothing comparable in their home state upon their return. As a gesture of love, Sarah’s fiancé took inspiration from their beloved dessert destination, a blender, and an assortment of Sarah’s favorite toppings to put their own spin on the concept of treat-infused ice cream. The resulting concoction proved delicious and the two realized the potential for a business of their own by blending Sarah’s business acumen with her fiancé’s creativity. It was there, in the kitchen with a little more than a blender and a business plan, that the idea for Sunday’s Scoops and Treats (Sunday’s) was born.
Sarah and her fiancé set their sights on downtown Concord and moved to New Hampshire’s capital city in December of 2020 and signed a commercial lease the following March. For the next couple of months, the pair spent all their free time preparing to launch their business. Weekends were spent developing their menu, learning how to use the shop’s point-of-sale system, and completing the renovations necessary to transform their commercial space into the ice cream shop of their dreams. Following Sarah’s graduation from LRCC in May, Sunday’s officially opened for business in June.
During the year that Sunday’s has been open, Sarah has had plenty of opportunity for reflection on the exciting new journey she and her fiancé have undertaken together:
“Oftentimes, people try to tackle [opening a small business] later on in life because you have a little more life experience, but as young business owners we’re very much still learning. It’s hard, but it’s also fun – we’re talking about ice cream, after all.”
Sarah even had a surprise visit from her LRCC Professor Maltzie who she credits as instrumental in her success at LRCC and to helping her get to where she is today as a business owner.
“I was proud to show him how this has really come full circle with turning a dream into a reality. When I was at LRCC, he was not only there to guide and advise me on the skills I would need to be successful in managing a business, but he was also giving me the support and encouragement to follow through on my plans. Two years ago, I was in a classroom imagining what it would be like to own an ice cream shop. Now, I have customers coming back and saying how amazing our ice cream is and how great the service is – to me, that is the most rewarding part of it all.”
Sunday’s Scoops and Treats, located at 138 North Main Street in Concord, is open Tuesday through Friday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.