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Betty Rae's debuts new UMKC-inspired flavor, 'Roo Blue Swirl'

roo blue swirl betty rae's ice cream
Posted at 1:03 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 14:03:27-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A beloved Kansas City ice cream shop known for its unique flavors and neighborhood feel is celebrating a local university with its latest creation.

Betty Rae's Ice Cream is now scooping "Roo Blue Swirl" in homage to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Owner Alec Rodgers is a UMKC alum, and said the new mix was a collaborative effort with the university.

UMKC reached out about creating the ice cream with ideas about the name, and Rodgers brought the flavor.

The new flavor is a swirl of lemon and blueberry ice creams, with bits of crumble for added texture.

Rodgers said he wanted to find a delicious way to represent the blue and gold, and UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal gave it rave reviews.

"Five out of five, 10 out of 10 — whichever way you want to count it. The flavors go really well together, it's creamy, plus it's got a little bit of crunch in there to add some texture. It's perfect," Agrawal said.

He got the first scoop of the new flavor Wednesday morning — the first time he's ever had ice cream before lunchtime, he said.

"This is the very first Roo-based ice cream flavor that I've heard of, and what makes it special is one of our recent graduates has taken over this store and has run it and has come up with this whole concept of this flavor," Agrawal said. "It's getting all of the students and faculty and staff at UMKC excited, but also goes to show what [the] entrepreneurship program that we have at UMKC can do, when students come out and right away take over a pride point, a staple of Kansas City like Betty Rae's Ice Cream."

Rodgers, who graduated last May, said the education and relationships he built at UMKC have contributed to his success.

"I attribute a lot of what has happened in the last seven months to my education at UMKC, and not only the education itself but the education through relationships with professors," Rodgers said. "I'm still in contact with professors on about a weekly basis and I think that's hard to come by, so that's a testament to UMKC and the culture there, but also the culture at the Bloch School of Business."

The UMKC alum took over the shops earlier this year after pandemic-related financial issues forced the previous owner to close. Rodgers was a former employee himself and told KSHB 41 News at the time he would often say "I want to work at Betty Rae's for the rest of my life."

Owning a business was always in his sights — he just didn't know it would happen so soon.

"I really had a desire to own a business at some point in my career. I thought 20 or 30 years down the road, maybe, when I had some experience under my belt," Rodgers said. "But when this opportunity came up, I couldn't turn it down, not only because of my desire to own a business, but my love for Betty Rae's and what it provides for our communities."

The employees, who were friends first, were an important factor, too.

"They were friends before, and so not seeing them back in here was gonna be tough. Being able to provide this for them has been really great," Rodgers said.

Betty Rae's has two locations in Kansas City, Missouri — one in Waldo at 7140 Wornall Rd. and one in the River Market at 412 Delaware St.