Nothing defines the sound of summer quite like the tinkle of ice cream truck music. Often heard from a great distance, it at once inspires childlike excitement and accelerated movement toward wallets and piggy banks. Aside from offering a cool treat on a hot day, ice cream trucks provide a sense of nostalgia that is hard to resist.
Two mobile ice cream vendors are taking the opportunity to deal in happiness, as well as ice cream.
Tasty Treat Ice Cream, owned and operated by Charanjit Kaur and her husband, make their rounds throughout the Fox Cities from Menasha to Kimberly. They also will visit locations and events by request.
The couple has been in business for the last five years. And with two small children, ages 6 and 7, at home they both appreciate the flexibility of their schedules.
“It’s my own business. I can start and stop when I want,” said Kaur.
This summer’s most popular treat? A two-way tie between Spongebob and Hello Kitty ice cream bars.
Gary Wondrash of Appleton is a different kind of ice cream vendor. Instead of a truck, Wondrash runs his business, Walt’s Treats, from the back of a bicycle. He put together the system himself with a $10 bicycle, and a freezer and speakers from the internet. He carries 15 different ice cream products and bottled water. The bike, he says, keeps his business cost-effective and personal.
“I have started a lot of new friendships and meet a lot of new people when I’m out,” says Wondrash.
Walt’s Treats, which is now in its fourth summer, is based around Northland Avenue in Appleton. Wondrash rides out in a different direction each day to reach as many people as possible. For “Mr. Walt,” as the kids know him, his business is all about the people he meets.
“I have regular customers. We keep in contact on Facebook and they ask if I can hit their neighborhood,” says Wondrash.
Another benefit of the bike is a built-in workout. Wondrash has been a physical eduction teacher for the past 27 years and has been teaching in the Appleton area at Highlands Elementary School for the past 13. A self-proclaimed fitness enthusiast, his second summer job is as a personal trainer.
“I guess it’s job security,” he jokes. “I sell them the ice cream and then they need to work out.” He also incorporates his education background by talking to kids about nutrition and exercise.
Whether by bike or by truck, the ice cream business brings joy to both vendor and customer.
“It’s a business that’s low-stress and makes people happy. It’s part of summer. It’s a joyous thing to do,” says Wondrash.
— By Jennifer Clausing