By Ray Balogh
WINONA LAKE — Few people can claim they have had a successful business named after them before they reached their teen years. Laine “Lainey” Bryant is among that rarefied number.
Bryant, 31, was born and raised in Warsaw. In 2001 her parents opened their first ice cream shop in the former Baskin-Robbins building on Center Street in downtown Warsaw.
They named the place “Kelainey’s Sweet Dreams,” a mash-up of Bryant’s and her older sister, Kelsie’s, given names.
“Mom and Dad joked about how they mixed our names up and called me Lainey,” she said.
Three years later, the family opened a second location in the Village of Winona Lake. They closed the Warsaw parlor in 2015 and now operate solely from the Winona Lake location as an ice cream parlor and sandwich shop.
Bryant started working in the family business when she was 12. “I was in fifth grade,” she said. “I scooped ice cream and made milkshakes. We had a smaller menu then, with not quite as many sandwiches.”
She continued to work “off and on through college and after college” and “took over as general manager three years ago.”
“I’m gradually learning everything,” she said, noting she hopes to follow in her parents’ footsteps and make her present occupation a career.
“My husband, Jeff, and I are preparing to take over the management. My parents are thinking about retirement.”
The sisters have sundaes named after them. Bryant’s decadent namesake treat, “Laine’s Cookie Creation,” consists of cookie dough ice cream, cookies and cream ice cream, marshmallow topping, Oreo and cookie dough pieces, whipped cream and cherries in a waffle bowl.
“It’s good for sharing,” she said, “unless you are really hungry.”
Her father created most of the sandwiches on the menu. Bryant’s favorite is the turkey Swiss melt on a pretzel roll.
Kelainey’s opened for the season Monday, May 4, serving carry-out orders only, and opened its dining area at 50% capacity a week later. “We’ve gotten a good response from the public,” Bryant said, “even though business was a little stunted at the beginning.”
Bryant studied graphic design at the University of Indianapolis and Ivy Tech and married Jeff Aug. 17, 2019. He worked for the county’s department of children services and joined Kelainey’s staff this season.
When not dishing up frozen treats and crafting sandwiches, the Bryants enjoy playing “a lot of unique board games.” Her favorite is Code Name, a mystery game similar to Clue. “We also like escape room games,” she said.
She also tried her hand at water coloring during the winter.
Laine and Jeff are “very involved” in their church, Bourbon United Pentecostal. They serve as co-leaders of the church’s bridge club, a fellowship group for young adults 18-25 “who are out of high school but not married yet. Most of them are in college.”
She learned her life’s philosophy by her parents’ example, though they never taught her the lessons in so many words: “Living with honesty and integrity and making things a little bit fun will help get you through.”
“I really enjoy being part of the Village of Winona and adopting that culture and making it our home.”