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Ann McGlynn

It took four "ingredients" for the Quad-Cities' own grape ice cream to come about.

1. Tim O'Brien wanted to enter the Invent Iowa Science Fair.

2. He likes just about anything grape.

3. Lots of people like ice cream.

4. The sixth-grader at All Saints Catholic School in Davenport said he could not find grape ice cream anywhere in the Quad-Cities.

Voila. A purple concoction came into existence, and anyone who wishes to can come and get a taste tonight at Happy Joe's, 2430 Spruce Hills Drive, Bettendorf.

"Everyone likes ice cream," O'Brien said. "I thought maybe I could do something unique with it."

After whipping up a batch at home, he set out with grape ice cream marketing director and good friend Josh Vinar to market their product.

They decided Happy Joe's would be a good place to start, knowing the story of how founder Joe Whitty had to visit lots of banks to get a start-up loan, but did not give up on his dream.

The 12-year-olds visited the Happy Joe's Pizza & Ice Cream Parlor near their school. The people there hooked them up with the corporate office.

"They had a big poster board with all of the research they had done and gave me a nice presentation on their product," said Kristel Whitty-Ersan, Happy Joe's marketing director and daughter of Joe Whitty. "I told the boys I would love to try it sometime and they said they had brought some along. So I gathered the staff and we all took a little break for some grape ice cream, which was really quite good."

Vinar and O'Brien notified the news media, placed fliers in their church bulletin and handed those same fliers out at school. They had purple business cards printed.

While grape ice cream did not win the science fair, their booth was one of the most popular, O'Brien said.

And it earned them notice from one of the best-known businessmen in the Quad-Cities.

"These are entrepreneurs in the making," Joe Whitty said. "They weren't afraid to come to our home office and present an idea they believed in.

"We need more kids to step up to the plate like that. I had better keep track of these two so I can hire them when they are old enough."

Ann McGlynn can be contacted at (563) 383-2336 or

if you go

Grape ice cream will be

available today, on a one-time only basis, at Happy Joe's, 2430 Spruce Hills Drive, Bettendorf, from 6 — 8:30 p.m.

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