Couple plans to open ice cream parlor, candy store
Simply Fabulicious will sell 27 flavor of saltwater taffy and eight types of ice cream, as well as an assortment of sundaes, milkshakes and other sweet treats
FARMINGTON — When they left Hollywood, Calif., to settle in Farmington 11 years ago, Lori and Mark Houston said they were following a life philosophy they still stand by today.
On July 4, that belief will culminate in the couple's latest adventure: a new candy store and old-fashioned ice cream parlor called Simply Fabulicious, located on the corner of Main Street and South Butler Avenue, next door to the Shiprock Trading Post and across the street from KFC.
The store will sell 27 flavors of saltwater taffy shipped from the California coast, locally roasted coffee from the Durango Coffee Co., eight flavors of ice cream and plenty of candy store and ice cream parlor standards such as sundaes, milkshakes, cotton candy, jumbo-sized swirled lollipops, salted nuts, cookies, brownies, fudge and other sweet treats.
"It's going to be someplace nice where everyone will enjoy themselves — families with kids, older folks — where anyone can come in, have coffee and dessert, enjoy yourself in someplace different," Lori Houston said.
The store will also sell nachos, New York-style hot dogs, slushies and soft-serve ice cream, she said.
The idea to open a store loaded with sweet confections came less than a month ago, Lori Houston said. Over breakfast, the couple decided to pursue a business venture that would appeal to kids and families and anyone with a serious sweet tooth.
The name embodies the couple's life philosophy, she said.
"Life is fabulicious. You just have to make it," she said. "It's over the top of fabulous. Fabulous is great, but fabulicious is off the Richter (scale). When you tell your kids or your grandkids, 'I love you to infinity,' that's like saying, fabulicious. It's the best. No matter who or where you are or whatever you do, you take every day as an opportunity to enjoy life, rise above the negative and learn, grow, embrace every moment. Don't limit yourself. Go for it."
She said the couple may seem impulsive or naive, but spontaneity has paid off for them thus far.
"Usually, people have dreams they'll never fulfill. This wasn't like a dream. But I knew that this was orchestrated and divine inspiration from God when we both got excited," she said.
The Houstons moved here when Mark Houston's oil drilling job was transferred to the San Juan Basin. Lori Houston left behind a successful film, TV and radio career she developed over 20 years, where, she said, she worked with the likes of Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, John Candy and LL Cool J.
When work slowed to a crawl last year, Mark Houston retired and, looking for a new direction, he said the words of comedian and Family Feud host Steve Harvey inspired the couple to spend their retirement savings and take a chance.
"Someone sent in one of those Facebook things," Mark Houston said as he laid marble tile in the couple's new storefront. "He said, 'If you never jump, you'll never know.' That was truly inspirational. We've been talking about what we would do."
Launching a retro ice cream parlor out of a defunct shoe store in about six weeks is best explained, the couple said, by a willingness to take risks that can produce meaningful rewards.
"We're taking a leap of faith," Lori Houston said. "This isn't like Mark and Lori had a stash of money. This is Mark's retirement (savings). We're in deep. I want people to have a nice place, a high-end place, to come to."
Lori Houston said health scares have only reaffirmed her commitment to the fabulicious lifestyle.
Two years ago during a stay at a hotel in California, a metal safety bar on an exit door came down and gashed her in the left eye.
"Doctors said, 'You're probably never going to ever see out of that eye again,'" she said. "Well I said, 'Oh, yeah? This girl says I will.' And I have and see great. So there."
Within a year, her sight was restored, she said.
At the time, she was planning to launch her motivational speaking career when she crossed paths with another health scare. During treatment for her eye injury, doctors discovered a brain tumor in her left temporal lobe.
"I'm a very optimistic, faith-walkin' woman," she said. "I'll tell you what. ... Everyone said that the odds of making it through something like that, yadda, yadda, 'You're not going to make it,' blah, blah, blah. I said, 'I've got this.'"
The tumor has, so far, proven to be benign, she said.
"My motto has been this for years, my whole life: Life is fabulicious. Live it," she said.
James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621.
What: Simply Fabulicious
Where: 531 E. Main St. in Farmington