Summer is the best part of childhood; no school, nice weather, and plenty of time to hang out with friends. For four girls in Summerset, it’s about something sweeter: ice cream. 

Gretchen and Enna Henry, and Chloe and Elianah Ohlsen, all live in Summerset. When most of their summer activities were cancelled last year, they came up with an idea to bring some much-needed cheer to their neighborhood. Gretchen says, “one day we were jumping on the trampoline together, and we came up with the idea to get an ice cream truck.” 

Making a plan

Coming up with the idea was the easy part. When the girls approached Gretchen and Enna’s dad, Jason, about the idea, he gave them some homework. They had to research the products they wanted to sell, but also equipment, permits, and insurance for the truck. The girls rose to the challenge and presented him with their plan the same day. A stroke of luck found an old pizza truck at a local auction, and soon enough the girls’ dream became reality.

They started driving around their neighborhood, and soon they had an avid following both around Summerset and on social media. Sometimes they have so many people come buy ice cream, they hardly move the truck at all. To make things run smoothly, each girl has a job: one takes orders at the window, one acts as a cashier, one gets ice cream from the freezer, and one hands the treat out the door. The girls rotate jobs so they all get a chance to do each position. After they close up shop each day, the girls count up their money and divide it into categories: bills, profits, and money for charity. 

The girls sell everything from Italian ice and push-up pops to ice cream Snickers and Crunch bars. Their favorite treat? The M&M chocolate cookie ice cream sandwich!

Giving back

As part of their business plan, Jason told the girls they needed to consider giving back to charities or local organizations. After a successful season, the girls sat down together to decide how to spend the money they set aside. “We wanted to do something in our area, because those are the people who bought from us and supported us,” Enna says. 

While they had many ideas to choose from, the girls ultimately bought books, toys, and sports gear like footballs for kids in need during the holidays. “The Angel Trees we see around town inspired us,” Chloe says.

The ice cream truck was such a success, the girls plan to do it again this summer. This year they plan to have matching t-shirts, and hope to have a jar of dog treats on hand for kids who bring along their four-legged friends. They all agree the experience has taught them a lot; from making their business plan, learning how to budget, and dedicating their free time to running the truck. In the end, it’s worth it, and Elianah says, “the best part is hanging out with my friends and making fun memories together.”

WORDS: ASHLEY JOHNSON
PHOTOS: JESSE BROWN NELSON