A maxim for people with a sweet tooth
Max LeBlanc ’22 founded his own dessert shop
When Max LeBlanc ’22 was a freshman in high school, he began working in a local ice cream store. In his hometown, the tourism-driven community of Kennebunk, Maine, LeBlanc was just looking to earn some extra money for college. As a 14-year-old, he had no idea that in less than four years, he would be the founder of his own dessert shop.
The eponymous Maxim’s Desserts, a bright orange food truck, officially opened this summer. And while ice cream is certainly a large component of his business, LeBlanc wanted to serve dessert “à la mode, on the go, à la cone, with a twist.”
An iconic Maxim’s Desserts order, which Max refers to as a “huge creation,” features a waffle cone with crushed pie coating the inside, topped with ice cream. On top of the ice cream is even more pie. According to Max, the best part of working in the service industry is the “excitement and awe that comes when you hand someone a dessert that they haven’t seen before.”
While Maxim’s Desserts has garnered social media buzz and a five-star Yelp rating, the process of establishing the eatery was much more difficult than a school project or a midterm. During LeBlanc’s junior year, he presented his business plan to his parents. By that time, Max had saved two years’ worth of income from the ice cream shop. He told his parents that he could afford 50 percent of food truck related expenses and asked if they were willing to match the other half. His parents said yes.
“They had a lot of faith in me, and it is the biggest blessing that they’re so supportive of everything I do,” LeBlanc said.
Even though Max’s parents approved of his business plan, the road to establishing Maxim’s Desserts didn’t end there. From the challenges associated with permits and licenses to the fact that LeBlanc couldn’t sign any legal documents until his senior year, the food truck took nearly two years to come to fruition.
“My age wasn’t really a huge issue. I think the biggest problem I faced was finding the time to do all the permits and deal with the inspections. I was going through high school and college applications. There were a lot of times when I had to set priorities,” LeBlanc said.
Typically parked outside of three local bars in downtown Kennebunk, the food truck’s late hours and decadent offerings have already made a big splash in its coastal hometown. However, the eatery has attracted more than the attention of the “last call” crowd. Maxim’s Desserts has just booked its first wedding, scheduled for next year.
“I’m really excited for the wedding. I can’t wait because I love weddings so much, personally. I’m such a hopeless romantic and I’m thrilled to be a part of something so special — and bring a little bit of joy to somebody’s wedding,” LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc is obviously passionate about ice cream, pie and everything in-between, but he also prides his business as unapologetically representative of his home state. The ice cream that he uses is from a creamery 15 minutes from his house, and the pies are baked from fruit grown in Maine. “Everything is from Maine — everything is made in Maine. That’s super important to me. I love where I come from so much, and I really wanted to show people what we’re all about. I want to keep everything I do local,” LeBlanc said.
This summer, for the first time, Max was able to focus solely on managing Maxim’s Desserts. His day would start by driving to the creamery to pick up ice cream (made daily). Then, LeBlanc would bring the pie and ice cream to the truck and prepare for the day ahead by cleaning and setting up signage. The final component of Max’s preparation was posting the flavor of the day on the company’s Instagram account.
Founding Maxim’s Desserts and spending the whole summer running the food truck made LeBlanc question his aspirations for a career in medicine. “I never really thought I liked business until I was actually in business. This summer, I kind of realized that maybe I don’t want to be a doctor. Maybe this is what I really like,” he said.
However, Max is hesitant to make any absolute statements. “The future is so undetermined, but there are so many opportunities that present themselves randomly and so many opportunities you work to create,” LeBlanc said. “I don’t know where it’s going to go, but I’m having fun.”