[EDITOR'S NOTE — Each week, this feature section, “Movers and Makers,” will feature the stories of the movers, launchers, entrepreneurs and makers who contribute to the vitality of the Mahoning Valley. This section is supported by our first community partner, Farmers National Bank.]
BOARDMAN — N2 by DaVill, a nitrogen ice cream shop and bakery, is starting a nonprofit, The Heart of DaVill, which will donate 100 percent of proceeds from cookie decorating kits to various causes.
The first beneficiary of The Heart of DaVill is owner Shaun DaVill’s great-nephew, Charlie, who is currently battling grade 3 anaplastic ependymoma in Wisconsin.
According to DaVill, Charlie recently completed radiation and will start chemotherapy in a few weeks.
“They didn't want to ask for help,” DaVill said. “[My niece] said they had some people approach them about doing fundraisers, and she was like, ‘I just didn't feel right about it, because I just didn't [want donors] to just give their money. I thought they needed to get something for it,’ he said. “I just was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is right up my alley. This is what I need to do.’ This is the heart of my business, trying to do good and help other people.
“That's how I came up with The Heart of DaVill.”
With the idea of giving donors something for their contributions in mind, DaVill will donate all proceeds from cookie decorating kits, because they can be shipped across the U.S. Customers can choose between unicorn, dinosaur, ocean, pirate and under the sea themes.
DaVill took to Facebook last week to talk about the positive response the cookie kits have gotten since the project launched earlier this month.
“Something that’s happening that I did not expect is how many people are buying these kits and sending us a message or calling us and saying ‘Hey, I don't actually have a need for this kit please donate it,’ DaVill said in a video.
“I’m so excited to do that in your name. I’m going to hand-deliver it myself and I’m going to do it with kids that are in foster care because I’m adopted, 10 of my siblings are adopted, so that’s a special place in my heart” he added.
DaVill grew up in South Dakota and is the youngest of 12 siblings. He moved to The Mahoning Valley three years ago and opened the first N2 by DaVill two years ago in Lisbon. The business has now been relocated to 6528 South Ave.
N2 by DaVill initially focused on its ice cream that uses liquid nitrogen to flash-freeze fresh ingredients, but DaVill said when he relocated to Boardman he purchased a local bakery, which has now become part of the N2 by DaVill enterprise.
“I met a [woman] who had a bakery that employed people with special needs. She asked me if I wanted to share her space and Boardman and so I was like ‘Sure, I'd love to do that.’ So I shared her space in Boardman and kind of was watching the operation there and thought ‘You know what, I should buy this bakery’ because I felt like I could make a difference,” DaVill said.
“When COVID hit obviously the people with special needs were unable to come to work, and I had always said that the whole heart of my business was employing people with special needs,” he added. “It felt like the purpose of my business was gone, literally the heart of my business was gone. So I've been trying to figure out what to do [and] how I can do something and make a difference.”
According to DaVill, he hopes The Heart of DaVill can serve “the underdog” and help people who otherwise wouldn’t get assistance.
“I want to help the people who actually need it,” he said.
To promote the nonprofit, DaVill has been posting regularly on N2 by DaVill’s Facebook page to connect the business’ 14,000-plus followers to Charlie and give updates on his story.
“By me introducing Charlie and getting people to know my nephew and getting to know his struggle … and it's not just some kid I found, he's my sister's grandson. So I just feel like people already have a personal connection with me. So now [my followers] having a personal connection with Charlie, I think works very well with my brand, because I am my brand.
DaVill told Mahoning Matters that The Heart of DaVill is still evolving, but he’s hoping to add a donation feature to all N2 by DaVill products as the initiative evolves.
“I want to do good in the world,” DaVill said. “I'm so excited about The Heart of DaVill because I really believe I can leave something beyond me that will be sustainable.”