Taos youth nonprofit scoops up Ziggy's for-profit venture

By Jesse Moya

Taos' favorite fro-yo spot will see some new owners as Ziggy's Frozen Yogurt changes hands to the DreamTree Project.

DreamTree, a local Taos nonprofit focused on serving youth in the community, recently purchased Ziggy's from owners Bowe Ellis and Steve Kennebeck. The business will supplement DreamTree's operations and pay for extra services down the road for youth in their programs, according to DreamTree Executive Director Catherine Hummel.

"We like that it's really professionally set up and clear to step into," Hummel said. "We want to keep everything that everybody loves about Ziggy's. We've definitely got a good thing going here."

According to Hummel, the long-term goal with Ziggy's is to use the business as workforce training for young adults in DreamTree's transitional living program. Youth are allowed to live in a starter apartment through DreamTree as they build skills necessary for real world living.

Ziggy's currently already hires primarily teens and gives them a job to learn basics of responsibility. DreamTree is hoping to continue that legacy and build off of that to supplement their program.

"We want to be a part of keeping [the youth] participating in higher level activities with confidence," said Ziggy's new manager, Jerrod Rowlison-Elliot, about the future job training.

Currently DreamTree is focused on keeping Ziggy's the same and upholding the tradition the business has created. Rowlison-Elliot, who also runs the growing and sales operations of DreamTree farms, said Ziggy's will be business as usual for customers with little to no changes. He did mention that small cups would be returning for customers looking for a smaller snack.

Ziggy's started in April 2017 at 1008-A Paseo del Pueblo Sur and brought a unique spin on a tasty treat industry to Taos. With a lovable logo of Ziggy the dog, owners Ellis and Kennebeck built their frozen yogurt palace into a meet-up spot for teens and adults alike.

"We had a really good time with this business venture and it brought [us] in touch with the community," Ellis said. "We wanted to integrate it as much as possible into Taos. And we did that."

Ziggy the real dog's smiling face will remain on the logo, according to DreamTree, and Ellis said she may make guest appearances in the restaurant in the future.

"A lot of people made friends with Ziggy," Ellis laughed.

According to Hummel, DreamTree is allowed to absorb businesses under the umbrella of a nonprofit as long as the business profits go toward funding the goals of the organization. DreamTree will use the profits of Ziggy's to expand their programs and services to youth including elements of their emergency shelter and transitional living program.

Hummel said the board of DreamTree had recently identified a need for more workforce development in the program and the purchase of Ziggy's plays directly into that goal.

Kennebeck and Ellis put the business up for sale in the last year and the transition to DreamTree is something that Ellis fully supports.

"By letting it go to DreamTree, there's a little bit of sadness but I'm really happy that it's moving on and that it's going to continue," Ellis said. "Its going into such capable hands. I couldn't imagine a better party to take it over."

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