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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

UD Community — How Sweet It Is

Jeffrey Neace ’88, identifies as a serial entrepreneur — ideas are his stock-in-trade, and he is always ready to develop the next one. 

In the spring of 2020, Neace, who earned his business degree in management and has taught business at UD as an adjunct instructor, was riding the wave of a successful sale of Paragon Infusion Therapy’s pharmacy business. It was a lucrative deal, and he was ready for the next big idea when the pandemic slowed everything down. Yet, that turned out to be a bright spot, too. 

“Because everything was shut down, I decided to do some plantings and was headed to Grandma’s Garden’s (a local nursery and garden center),” said Neace. “I ended up driving past where I used to get frozen custard and remembered how much I loved that place. People would congregate there, and I really missed that.” 

That was the moment he began his next venture — building community through frozen custard just eight miles away from the UD campus that showed him the value of community years ago.

“It all comes back to community,” said Neace as he talked about how his love for UD basketball as a kid developed into an appreciation for what he saw around campus. “Just the whole sense of community … hanging out on the porches of all those houses and that sense of gathering and connectivity and belonging. It affected me so much that I’ve kind of brainwashed my kids into loving UD, too,” he laughed. 

His oldest, Emma, is currently a sophomore at UD, and it was her idea to make sure the dining room had a big, cool booth for groups to gather and hang out in the space. And that’s exactly what Neace wanted. 

“We’re not just selling custard, we’re creating memories. We’re creating those moments that you remember with your grandparents … with your children,” said Neace as he swept his arm back toward the booth and the photos surrounding it. “That’s all my life. Those are all family photos. That’s my aunt on the top right. And the big one is my father.”

Family. Friends. Gathering together to eat. It all certainly has a Marianist ring to it. And Neace is amped up for everything that comes next, even if it comes with a little risk. 

“I’m just really excited for the fall and football games and all the kids showing up to, you know, wreck the place," he said with a laugh. For Neace, it’s all about creating traditions and, hopefully, a new Dayton institution. So far so good — his primary concern right now is keeping up with demand. And, to Neace, the success is no surprise. 

“When you can marry a good business idea with developing community, you’re really onto something."

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