Caliche's Frozen Custard - Small Business of the Month October 2014

Oct 20th, 2014

Serving frozen treats, community involvement

Local business has three locations to help customers beat the heat

Everyone enjoys a scoop of delicious ice cream. In Las Cruces, Caliche’s has been a favorite for customers Chamber Small Business of the Month October 2014of all ages. No matter the season, customers always enjoy the treat.

In 1992, owners David and Dana Wortham first moved to Las Cruces. They started a car detailing business and made enough money to start the Caliche’s branch on Valley Drive on Oct. 27, 1996.

When they opened their first location, to their surprise, nobody knew what frozen custard was. It took about two and half years for them to open a second location on the other end of town.

When they first moved to Las Cruces in 1992, one thing Dana Wortham said she noticed was customer service was sorely lacking. Being from the Midwest, she wanted to provide the best customer service, where people felt welcome. Her goal was to try to get to know their customers by name, which would lead to repeat customers. She wanted to help life be a little better by serving a good product.

Caliche’s had a very humble beginning and the owners appreciate the people in town. The Worthams have employees that have been with them 14-plus years. One of their goals is to create jobs, and the giving of more than minimum wage to start.

“For the past eight years, part of our way of giving back to the people who support our business is the customer appreciation day where we offer 50-cent hot dogs and half price on all menu items,” Dana Wortham said.

Each year the event gets bigger with magician, balloons, face painting and other activities. The owners are very proud of their custom-made trademarked mix for frozen custard from their own dairy.

“It is one of the healthiest desserts out there, very low in preservatives and made with natural ingredients,” Dana Wortham said.

Caliche’s has a unique retro theme and is a little old-fashioned, while focusing on and supporting the community. Giving back is a huge part of the business.

To stay ahead of the competitors, Caliche’s hires the best employees to accomplish its business motto: “Trying to run the business like you have competition moving in right next door,” Dana Wortham said.

Starting a business was difficult with no funds available. The Worthams started in an industry where they had to learn as they went. They had to do everything themselves, from payroll to being the cleaning staff, because they had no money to pay others to do the work. Remodeling their buildings was also a project they took in their own hands.

When asked what advice she would give to business start-ups, Dana Wortham said, “Be ready to absolutely work your tail off. Be ready to work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life. You don’t know what you have inside yourself until you’re put to the test. You must have a good work ethic and be willing to do whatever it is you have to do – from the menial tasks to the big decisions to keep your business successful.”

In the future, the Worthams would like to expand their business.

“I don’t know where or when, but growing. People from out of state are always asking when we’re moving to their city,” Dana Wortham said.