When Dylan Navarro was born seven months ago, everything changed for his parents Gerardo “Jerry” Navarro, 35, and Stephanie Downard Navarro, 33.

“He changed our entire perspective on life,” said Jerry Navarro, a retired Army master sergeant, who had tossed around the idea of becoming a contractor oversees when he got out of the military in March. “Then he was born and I wanted to switch gears and do something more family-oriented.”

Taking stock of what was missing in the area, the Salado-based husband and wife team decided to open a laid-back, family-friendy space in Heights where kids could play and parents could enjoy a “time out.”

“There are no ice cream places in Heights, and I am a big coffee drinker, so we decided to open up a place that would serve ice cream, coffee and Hawaiian shaved ice,” said Stephanie Downard Navarro, an active duty Civil Affairs officer at Fort Hood. “Other than Starbucks, Heights didn’t have any other options.”

Dylan’s Ice Shack & Cafe opened May 17 and proudly serves 15 flavors of Amy’s Ice Cream on a rotating bases, brews Caribou Coffee, serves up a variety of espresso drinks, protein shakes, shaved ice, and “Cool Concoctions,” a blend of ice cream and coffee.

‘Paleo’ ice cream

For those who cannot tolerate dairy-based ice creams, Stephanie Downard Navarro makes her own special “Paleo” ice cream that is sugar-, dairy- and soy-free.

The couple offers a 20 percent discount to teachers on Wednesdays and to military and EMS workers on Thursdays.

Pulling from their military backgrounds, the couple said their experiences serving their country prepared them to open up their own business because they were both well versed in discipline.

“I enjoyed being in the military, but it’s nice to have a different change of pace that isn’t so structured all the time,” Jerry Navarro said.

Contact Vanessa Lynch at vlynch@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7567.

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