Cruising cure for summertime blues
Ice-cream lovers can listen for song from traveling truck
By William Ferchland
Tribune staff writer
Bridey Heidel tricked out her ride.
That’s a popular phrase that aptly describes the vast improvements Heidel applied to her ice-cream truck business that might make selling sugar desserts more of a treat than last summer.
First, there is a 5-foot metal ice cream cone made by South Tahoe High School students that will adorn the top of her 1985 converted mail truck. Pink polka dots have been added so they would match the metal ice cream.
A monthlong stay at Mathisen Automotive at a cost of $575 improved the truck, which she purchased on icecreamtrucks.com.
Thirty-seven songs, instead of one, and a second speaker will improve Heidel’s acoustic arsenal to lure customers from their living rooms and onto the streets.
Oh yeah, the tire rims are now lime green.
Then there’s the seven new ice creams that bring the menu list to 27 flavors. The new arrivals are the X-Men’s Wolverine Popsicle, Sidewalk Sundae Bomb Pop and an Oreo bar.
“That’s going to be a fun one to sell,” Heidel said with a laugh when referring to the Oreo bar. “It’s going to be so messy.”
And with the latest diet craze, Heidel has a low-carb Popsicle.
“That’s pretty big news for the moms out there,” she said. “They’re pretty happy about that.”
Last summer, her business, Sugar Freaks, almost melted before it started. She applied for a small business license that was denied by South Lake Tahoe city officials. Loosely put, an ordinance exists that prohibits selling food on public streets.
Mayor Tom Davis said he is supportive of changing the law. He believes a roaming ice-cream truck would be a “great service” for locals and vacationers. Davis recalled his own memories of visiting an ice-cream truck while a boy in San Diego.
“I used to wait for that sucker,” he said.
Banished from the city boundaries, Heidel checked if she could sell ice cream in the county.
She found she could. El Dorado County sheriff’s Lt. Les Lovell, the highest-ranking deputy at the lake, said the department doesn’t mind the truck. Heidel, a high school English teacher, places a county placard on her truck which shows she abides with county safety codes.
Heidel donned a fluorescent blue wig and pink lipstick for her first day of summer work at Under the Magic Pine Tree Children’s Center along South Avenue.
Heidel said she can go into the city if invited. At the nursery school, she handed out Popsicles to children giddy from her appearance.
“It’s good because it’s tasty good,” said 4-year-old Matthew Goode about his Wolverine Popsicle with bubble gum for eyes.
“It’s better than regular ice cream,” stated Tianna Guerrero, 5, about her Powderpuff Popsicle.
Like her customers, Heidel was all smiles.
“Isn’t it a riot?” she said, poking her head out the truck’s door.
After seeing everyone satisfied, Heidel turned on her music, started the engine and tooted her horn. Before she left, 5-year-old Angie Stockton had an important question.
“Bridey, are you coming tomorrow?” Angie asked.
– E-mail William Ferchland at firstname.lastname@example.org.