An executive in “permissibly indulgent” sweets who helped build Halo Top into the leading brand guilt-free ice cream and is now building a chocolate brand sold a Lincoln Park mansion.
Doug Bouton, who with Justin Woolverton grew Halo Top from $230,000 in 2013 revenues to more than $100 million in 2018, according to Inc. magazine, and his wife, Jennifer Mellen, sold the house on Kenmore Avenue for a little under $3.73 million on April 7.
Bouton and Mellen could not be reached for comment. They paid $3.4 million for the five-bedroom, 5,600-square-foot house in October 2019, according to the Cook County clerk.
Around the same time the couple bought the house, Iowa-based Wells Enterprises, maker of Blue Bunny, Bomb Pop and frozen treats, bought Los Angeles-based Halo Top for an amount that was not disclosed.
The idea Woolverton had for Halo Top, low in sugar and fat and high in protein and taste, was “how do you eat a ton of ice cream and not hate yourself for it?” Bouton said in a 2020 interview with Bootstrapping in America.
After the sale to Blue Bunny, Bouton, who had been COO at Halo Top Creamery, became CEO of Halo Top International, licensed by Wells to sell the brand outside the U.S. and Canada. In 2021, Bouton’s Chicago-based firm Dojo Brands launched the Gatsby chocolate line, which has half the calories and one-quarter the sugar of regular chocolate.
The goal this time is to “offer chocolate lovers indulgent, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate that’s significantly healthier than regular chocolate,” Bouton told a candy industry publication. Gatsby’s marketing materials refer to the products as “permissibly indulgent.”
The house on Kenmore, built in 2018, has an elevator and outdoor space on four levels, including a rooftop terrace that is part covered, part open to the sky and has an outdoor fireplace, a big-screen television and views of the downtown skyline.
It was listed only on a private agents’ network, said Lauren Mitrick Wood, a Compass agent who represented the property with fellow Compass agent Charlie Wood. They said it received a strong first offer soon after going up for sale at $3.7 million on Jan. 7 and went under contract within a few days. The sale closed at $25,000 above the asking price.
The agents declined to discuss the sellers or their reasons for moving.
Of the property, Charlie Wood said that after buying it in 2019, the sellers upgraded the outdoor spaces by, among other things, turning one level into a children’s space with artificial turf and playground equipment.
The buyers, who were represented by Elizabeth Ballis of Compass, are not yet identified in public records.
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