top of page

From Employees to Entrepreneurs: Get the Scoop About Sweets on Main in Fort Wayne, IN

Who are the owners of Sweet on Main, Onnolee Dunno and Hezekiah Russel. there transfor to business owner is a great story of entrepreneurship. Learn more about Sweets on Main located in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Converting a business to new ownership is a complex and intricate process that involves transferring ownership rights, responsibilities, and control from the existing owner(s) to new individuals. This transition requires careful planning, legal documentation, and clear communication to ensure a smooth and successful handover. Despite the complexities of converting a business to new ownership, the new leaders bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and a renewed energy to the business. Their unique insights and approaches can inject new life into the company, driving growth and innovation. For Onnolee Dunno and Hezekiah Russell, the new owners of Sweets on Main, their transition into business ownership exemplifies how the infusion of new leadership can bring about positive change and growth. With their combined expertise and vision, Onnolee and Hezekiah have already begun implementing innovative strategies and fostering a culture of creativity within Sweets on Main. As Sweets on Main embarks on this new chapter under the guidance of its new owners, the business is poised for continued success. Today, we will take you through Onnolee and Hezekiah's journey, how the opportunity to take over Sweets on Main was presented to them, and their hopes for the future. 

Onnolee Dunno is the owner of Sweets on Main in Fort Wayne off Main St. She got the opportunity to own this business by the previous owner of this ice cream place.

Onnolee Dunno was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. When describing her childhood, she said she was very active and grew up within the Lutheran Church. She attended St. Paul's from kindergarten through eighth grade, followed by Concordia Lutheran High School. During her senior year of high school, Onnolee got her first job at Crazy Pinz, where she stayed until her sophomore year of college at Indiana Tech. While working at Crazy Pinz, she worked her way up to a management position at the company. When talking about this time, she said,

"It was my first experience shadowing different management types, and I did all that during COVID. It was definitely different from the average managing training since there were so many new guidelines and expectations, so that was an interesting time."

While managing Crazy Pinz, Onnolee got a part-time job working a few nights a week at Sweets on Main. She had known the owners since she was a kid because she was good friends with their cousin, so she was excited to work for their company. After leaving her job at Crazy Pinz, she began quickly moving up the ranks at Sweets on Main. At the end of 2021, she was promoted to general manager.

Onnolee start out as a manager at Crazy Pins then start a new management job at Sweet on Main. After a couple year last she was then asked if she would like to take over ownership and buy Sweets on Main. She finally is the new young owner in Fort Wayne, IN.

In January 2023, 4 months before Onnolee graduated from Indiana Tech with her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Management, the owners of Sweets on Main sat down with her to see what her plans were after graduation. She told them she planned to stay in Fort Wayne and continue working at the ice cream shop. Not long after that initial conversation, they asked to sit with her again to let her know they were planning to sell the company. To Onnolee's surprise, during that conversation, they asked if she would be interested in taking over. They expressed that they believed she would be the perfect fit to take ownership of the company based on everything she had already done since she started working there. We asked Onnolee how she felt after they asked her if she wanted to take over the business. She said,

"When they first told me, I was shocked. I wasn't sure if they were joking with me like I really didn't think they were going to sell anytime soon, and I felt that way for about that first week. Then I really started thinking about it and thought it was a great opportunity because it was already a built business. I talked to my Uncle and my Aunt about it, and they encouraged me to look more into it because they thought it would be a great opportunity, too, and that's where Hezekiah comes in. I brought it up to him, thinking, 'Hey, what do you think of this idea? Would you do it with me? I think we could make a good team and do this together.' We thought about it for about a month and then started to dive deeper into what we needed to do to take over." 
Hezekiah Russell was born in Lima, Ohia and wanted to pursue his college closer to home. He got the opportunity to own Sweets on main by Onnolee Dunno. His career choose in finances got him to join this business to help the business grow and stay on track.

Before we dive into the next phase of Onnolee and Hezekiah becoming the new owners of Sweets on Main, let's look back at Hezekiah's journey up to this point. Hezekiah Russell was born and raised in Lima, Ohio. When describing his childhood, he said he was always involved in sports, no matter the season. Still, as he got older, he narrowed his focus to playing primarily football and basketball. After graduating from high school, Hezekiah had the opportunity to take football to the college level but ultimately decided to turn it down and focus primarily on his education. He attended Cleveland State University for two years but transferred to Purdue Fort Wayne in 2019 to finish his degree and be closer to his family. After his first semester at PFW, he got a part-time job working as a teller at a bank, and soon after, the COVID pandemic began. Throughout the height of the pandemic, many of the bank staff had depleted, and Hezekiah was given the opportunity to work full-time. As COVID restrictions started to lift and the fall semester of college was quickly approaching, Hezekiah decided to take the semester off to continue working. When we asked him about this time, he said,

"I remember being very nervous taking a semester off, but I was determined that I would be going back. Luckily, that time off refocused and motivated me to know that I wanted to see through getting my degree. I returned the following semester and took classes throughout the summer while working almost full-time at the bank. I graduated in May of 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Business, a Major in Finance, and a Certificate in Bank Management." 
Sweet on Main is located next to Coney Island in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Next to the Iconic food place you can enjoy and ice cream treat when visiting or going around the city with your friends and family! Hezekiah is an entrepreneur that has worked hard to becoming one of the Owners at Sweets on Main

Hezekiah and Onnolee met in 2021, and when the idea to purchase Sweets on Main was presented to Onnolee, she started to talk to Hezekiah about the opportunity. We asked Hezekiah what his thoughts were when Onnolee first approached him about the idea. He said,

"I felt grateful. We had talked about this for a while, but up until that point, it was just for her. So, having my finance and banking background, I had been coaching from the sidelines for different ways she could stay prepared and take advantage of the situation if it made sense for her. She had experience from working at Sweets, plenty of management experience, and a degree in business management, so all of that collectively made sense for her to take over the business's operational side and build off the foundation she had already built. Then, she presented the opportunity to me to join her. I quickly saw a way to add value because of my financial background and how I could handle that part of the business. Taking advantage of our skill sets and doing this together made sense."

Now that both Hezekiah and Onnolee were ready to take over Sweets on Main, they began to take the steps they needed to get everything transitioned from the current owners to them. 

123 Main is the location by Coney Island that is called Sweets on Main. The owners are perfect for this business because of the schooling they decided to choose, both coming from business and financial backgrounds. These entrepreneurs have made the jump into business owner!

On September 1st, 2023, Onnolee and Hezekiah officially became the new proud owners of Sweets on Main. We asked if they have run into any challenges so far in their new roles as business owners. Onnolee said,

"For me, the challenge has been thinking more as an owner instead of just management, whereas I'm the person to do everything now instead of waiting for someone to tell me what to do."

Hezekiah followed this by saying,

"I would have to chalk it up to time management and I think that is something we're learning to improve on. With me working 40+ hours a week at the bank, finding enough time and energy for the business has been challenging. We knew going into it that it would be a challenge, so it wasn't like I was caught off guard by it, but it's still something I have to work through. We're still working on establishing our processes, and once we do that, things will lighten up, but we need to get there, and that's part of the challenge. This first round of the busy season will allow us to ensure we have that good, strong foundation. After that, we will be able to move forward. I am also at an interesting phase in my career where I'm growing in that too. I'm currently an associate commercial banker but I'm quickly growing and transitioning into becoming a commercial banker myself so I'm learning in a lot of areas right now, but I'm fortunate enough to continue to be in tune with who I am, and my goals and I understand that this is just part of that process."

With the busy season quickly approaching, we asked what their summer hours will look like and when they plan to transition into those hours, and they said they hope to make that change near the end of May. The current hours for Sweets on Main are Monday-Thursday 5pm-9pm, Friday-Saturday 1pm-10pm, and Sunday 1pm-9pm, but once they transition for the summer, their new hours will be weekdays from 11am-10pm and weekends 11am-11pm so everyone will have the opportunity to get a delicious treat at any point in the day. 

Right outside Sweets on Main they have a giant chess board looking at the court house downtown. They are planning to build on this so they can have more activities and games for people that are visiting. Make sure to eat your ice cream outside on the patio.

Since starting in September, we asked if they have made any changes to the company so far. Onnolee said,

"We've kept it pretty similar, but we have added game nights on Thursdays, which is a free activity people can do, and if they come in for that specifically, they can get a buy one get one free kids scoop. We also added a little selfie spot into the space. We want to test out some more events, either once a week or a special for the month, but other than that, we really like what we have, and we are trying not to change too much too quickly."

We followed this up by asking what their hopes are for the future of Sweets on Main, and Hezekiah said,

"I am very ambitious. I believe in the phrase 'shoot for the moon because even if you miss, you'll land among the stars', so I think it's important to dream big. The person who chases the crazy goal will go farther than the person who doesn't. So, I think for me I would like to see Sweets continue to grow and build on the foundation that's been built. Once we get our processes and procedures built out and we get comfortable with them, I see us expanding into another store at some point, which is what I see in the short- to mid-term goals."

Onnolee followed that up by saying,

"My hope for the future is definitely to expand on what we offer because I feel like we have a small menu, so I want to figure out what more we can do and maybe in the future if we are successful with this we can open something else." 
Sweets On Main is becoming a iconic place for people visiting this beauiful city. The entrepreneurs behind it are a hardworking crew that is taking this ice cream shop to the next level in the food and beverage industry as well. you have to be creative to stay ahead of the game.

Onnolee and Hezekiah have embarked on a journey filled with determination, passion, and a shared vision for the future of the business. Since taking over in September, they have infused Sweets on Main with fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. With their unwavering determination and collaboration, the future of Sweets on Main shines brightly with promise and potential. To finish our conversation, we asked Onnolee and Hezekiah what advice they would give to other entrepreneurs hoping to leap into business ownership. Onnolee said,

"I would tell them to jump in but also do your research because you're never going to know until you take the risk but you also need to know what you're getting yourself into a little bit."

Hezekiah added,

"Make well-calculated and intentional decisions, but at some point, you have to go for it. At the end of the day, if you're chasing your dreams, I don't think at any point, regardless if it works out or not, you'll regret that."
Fort Wayne Business Journal had an amazing time talking to the business owners of Sweet On Main located at 123 Main St right next to the iconic Fort Wayne Conney Island.

We want to send a huge thank you to both Onnolee and Hezekiah for taking the time to share their story with us. We are excited to see the wonderful things they do for Sweets on Main for years to come. We also want to thank Nike with Creative Roots Media for capturing the photos you see throughout the article. If you like reading the stories of those helping shape Fort Wayne into what it is today, one business at a time, subscribe to our free newsletter so you are always in the loop about what's happening here at the Fort Wayne Business Journal.


bottom of page