GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two friends from West Michigan have launched a unique ice cream brand with the help of the owner of a Grand Rapids ice cream shop and they’re now hoping to grow.

Paul Reiss is a Michigan State University student and Michael Meadows attended the University of Michigan and both have been good friends since they were children. One of their common bonds is their love for a specific cold treat.

“We grew up eating ice cream. We grew up in Hudsonville, Michigan, which is the ice cream capital of the state,” said Paul Reiss, co-owner of Protein Pints.

Left to right: Michael Meadows, Chris McKellar and Paul Reiss. (Courtesy)

As the two got older and became interested in health and fitness, Reiss said they realized the ice cream section was missing something.

“We went to the store one day and were looking for a high-protein ice cream and what do you know? We weren’t able to find it,” Reiss said.

That’s when the best friends decided to create a protein-filled ice cream, known as Protein Pints. Each container has 45 grams of protein and comes in flavors like peanut butter, chocolate or vanilla.

“Cutting-edge nutrition, a product that is really helping people and is going to help a lot of help people,” Reiss said.

Reiss and Meadows teamed with Chris McKellar, the owner of Love’s Ice Cream and Chocolate in Grand Rapids, on their company. McKellar has at least 10 years of expertise in working with ice cream and said his interest in nutrition aligned perfectly.

“At the same time I met Paul, he applied to work at Love’s Ice Cream, we got to talking and I always wanted to mentor or facilitate a start-up business through my small means here,” McKellar said.

The trio worked together to produce an ice cream that stood out, starting with McKellar bringing in samples.

“And then we had dialogue, what do you like about it? What do you not like about it? And then we steered it towards a product we all thought was great and then brought them into the kitchen and showed them how to make it,” McKellar said.

McKellar says creating a good ice cream is more than just mixing ingredients.

“It’s sort of a puzzle that you have to figure out and there’s not necessarily one right answer, it’s just the answer you believe to be true and it’s validated by the marketplace,” McKellar said.

The founders of Protein Pints said it hasn’t been easy but their product is now reaching some shelves, including Bridge Street Market and Grand Rapids City Gym.

Reiss said he’s proud to see where how far they’ve come and now plans to expand into Lansing this fall.

“We want everyone to have access to an ice cream they can feel great about eating. I think that’s really where our heart’s at,” Reiss said.

Reiss said the ultimate goal is for Protein Pints to become a nationwide brand.