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Summer ice cream sales take a modern twist

City's only licensed vendors hawk treats from scooter and cart

July 21, 2009

A few summers ago, Melissa, Matt and Billy MacDonald realized Brookfield was missing something.

The siblings were visiting family when they came upon the first ice cream truck they had seen in ages.

"We had forgotten about ice cream trucks, kind of, because we hadn't seen one in years," said Melissa, 20. "We thought, 'We're missing that in Brookfield.' "

This summer, after some research and brainstorming, the three founded Just Chillin' Ice Cream, currently Brookfield's sole licensed traveling ice cream vendor.

Sales on two wheels

But when you hear the jangling tune of Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" drifting through your neighborhood, don't look for a big white truck. The MacDonalds opted to go smaller - and greener - than the usual transportation mode, and are slinging their frozen treats from a refrigerated cart pulled by a shiny yellow motorscooter.

A truck would have been a pricier investment, Melissa said, and tougher to insure than the TNG Milano they ordered through Milwaukee's Planet Scooter.

"It's also a lot more fuel efficient with a moped than a truck," added Matt, 17. Without the ice cream cart attached, the scooter gets about 70 miles per gallon.

Billy, 14, said the vehicle gives Just Chillin' a more modern appeal.

"It's not as creepy as a truck," he said.

Recouping their costs

However, finding a scooter wasn't easy. It needed two seats and enough power to pull the ice cream cart.

Once they found their ride, Matt and Melissa had to take a motorcycle licensing class. In addition, all three needed to get state and city permits and licenses, insurance and a stock of frozen novelties.

These needs added up, costing the entrepreneurs an initial investment of $5,000, which they borrowed from their parents. They hope to repay that interest-free loan by the end of the summer, and begin turning a profit late this season or next year.

They made about $350 during their first three weeks in business.

The crew plans to branch out to other neighborhoods each afternoon and evening.

FYI

Just Chillin' Ice Cream is available to stop by special events and parties. For information, call (262) 373-0395.

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