Louisville grandmother starts sweet treats company, Bourbon Joys, to support her family and find joy during unemployment
Kim Howe, AKA “Mama Howe”, is notorious for finding the joy in every moment. “On a scale of one to ten, Mama Howe’s joy level is a fifteen”, jokes Carmyn Wethington, the second of Kim Howe’s three daughters. But when the pandemic hit in April, causing 65-year old “Mama Howe” to lose her dentistry job of 46 years, joy was tough to find.
When her office was able to open their doors again, the 65-year old dental assistant was faced with the impossible decision of returning to a profession deemed to be at highest risk for contracting COVID-19 or not receiving the single paycheck that she used to support her and her disabled husband.
Considering Butch Howe’s medical conditions—diabetes, lung and heart disease—the Howes made the difficult assessment that Kim Howe’s return to the office was not an option until a vaccine was available. “Sometimes you just have to know that you’re making the right choice and trust that God will take care of the rest.”, says Kim Howe.
Unemployment benefits were a saving grace for the struggling family, but when the stimulus package ran out, the worry set in. “Our medical bills are over five hundred dollars a month, alone”, says Howe “I got tired of sitting around. I knew there had to be a safe way to support my family.”
Joined by her three daughters, Devin Malone (34), Carmyn Wethington (30) and Kelly Howe (23), the Howes created a sweet treats company called “Bourbon Joys” to sell Mama Howe’s famous bourbon balls, buckeyes, rice krispie treats and more to local residents.
Not only are these chocolates beloved by family and friends, Mama Howe’s sweet treats are notorious in break rooms of the many doctor’s offices the Howes visit for Butch Howe’s continued care. “We will barely be in the door before the front desk starts screaming that Mama Howe’s treats are here. We’ll see doctors, nurses and staff alike running to receive them first!”
Dr. Rod Rallo of Vision First agrees, “Kim Howe’s bourbon balls are the best I’ve ever tasted. When we were planning my daughter’s wedding, I knew we wanted to treat guests to this Kentucky delicacy. I asked Kim if she would be willing to make 500 for us and they were an absolute hit!”
One of Governor Beshear’s daily briefings was the impetus for getting started. “He acknowledged the dark place that our community is in right now, but added that the resolve and resiliency of individual Kentuckians would be the light that enables our state to prevail. That’s all that I needed to hear.”
Mama Howe’s sweet treats, called “joys”, can be ordered online at BourbonJoys.com. Local deliveries are made on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Pick-up is available every Saturday in the Our Lady of Lourdes parking lot from 10-12.