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A blast from the past: Ice cream truck roams the streets of Brainerd

Jesse Novicky and Megan Thompson began their ice cream business last summer when they bought their first ice cream truck. Now, they are driving around Brainerd and selling frozen treats to the community.

The owners of the ice cream truck stand in front of it.
Megan Thompson and Jesse Novicky stand in front of one of their ice cream trucks, Monday, June 20, 2022.
Sara Guymon / Brainerd Dispatch

The idea of an ice cream truck began with Jesse Novicky.

Novicky and his fiancé, Megan Thompson, began their ice cream business last summer when they bought their first ice cream truck. Novicky found the truck in August and they went down to the Twin Cities to get their first inventory. They only got out a few times last season, but the experience made them very excited to continue this year.

“(The business) was actually Jesse's idea,” said Thompson. “He's always wanted to start something and so he started looking into it and found a couple of trucks. People loved it and then by this summer, we quickly realized, too, that we're going to need a second truck.”
Since starting, the two have said their business is being received well by the community. They serve a large variety of treats from ice cream sandwiches to giant freezies. They also service a variety of areas throughout the city of Brainerd.

In a typical week, Thompson will go out for a few hours while Novicky is at work. After Novicky gets done with work around 3 p.m., the two will either go out together or each take a truck and go separately.

The duo tries to keep the schedule as consistent as possible, dividing the town into sections at Washington and Sixth streets. Currently their schedule is north Brainerd on Monday and south Brainerd on Tuesday. Then they cover the northeastern section on Wednesday and the southeastern section on Thursday.
They used to cover Baxter on Fridays, but recently they were told that they could no longer sell there. The only way they could sell to the public is if they get permission from stores to sell in the parking lots or if they are hired for private events.

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The ice cream truck has already been booked for private events like graduation parties and weddings. In addition to the private events, they have also been in attendance for public events like the recent opening of the splash pad and for Brainerd’s Pride in the Park event.

“We've had a couple of events that we've done,” said Thompson. “We were at the grand opening of the splash pad. We just recently did Pride in the Park. We'll be down on the field for the Fourth of July.”

They were also at Kinderfriend Day a couple of weeks ago.

ChildrenIceCream.jpg
Children gather in front of the ice cream truck and look at the menu, Tuesday, June 21, 2022.
Sara Guymon / Brainerd Dispatch

“We were down on the field for Kinderfriend Day and gave each kindergarten student a free Popsicle for graduating,” said Thompson. “Every kindergarten student was so excited and had never seen an ice cream truck. So it was a blast.”

However, children are not the only ones who get excited for the ice cream truck. Many adults and senior citizens have expressed their happiness about seeing the truck go by. There is a certain nostalgic value for many of the older residents in town and seeing grandparents buying ice cream for their grandchildren warms the duo's hearts.

“The kids love it,” said Novicky. “The older people love it because it brings back memories from when they were little.”

Since Novicky works another job, Thompson has been doing a lot of the behind the scenes work. While Novicky is at work, Thompson works on booking and getting the trucks ready for the day or event. She also runs the social media accounts and tries to spread the word of the truck.

“I'm giving credit to all my fiancè,” said Novicky. “So while I'm at work, she's usually doing the booking and she's getting the truck set up for the event. (She’s) putting out the word of mouth on Facebook, Snap. She takes care of all that while I'm at work.”

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The first vehicle the duo acquired was a green truck. The truck was converted from a 1985 ambulance into what it is now. Their other truck has always been an ice cream truck. Both vehicles lack air conditioning at the moment and all of the revenue being made from the trucks are going right back into the business.

The two would love to add a tracking system so people would know where the truck is and when it would be in the area. Currently, cars just tend to follow the truck around until they pull over and the couple would like to make it easier to locate them.

Weather is also a contributing factor to business. The two had a later start than expected to the season with how late the winter lasted. Things like heavy rain also can limit when they go out, but they still try to go out if the weather isn’t too bad.

The menu of the ice cream truck on the side of the vehicle.
The menu is on display on the side of the ice cream truck, Monday, June 20, 2022.
Sara Guymon / Brainerd Dispatch

The one thing the duo really wanted to express was they appreciate all of the support the Brainerd community has provided them. The community has made their business a fun experience for them and look forward to continuing their business.

“Brainerd has opened their arms up and supported us and took us in,” said Thompson. “(We) greatly appreciate how much Brainerd has embraced us.”

SARA GUYMON, Brainerd Dispatch staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5851 or sara.guymon@brainerddispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/Sara_Guymon .

Sara Guymon is a Post Bulletin business reporter. Guymon grew up in New Ulm, Minnesota. She graduated from New Ulm Public High School and went on to attend college at the University of Minnesota Duluth. While at UMD, Guymon pursued a major in journalism and a double minor in photography and international studies. Prior to coming to the Post Bulletin, she worked as a staff writer for the Brainerd Dispatch. There she covered the City of Baxter and business.
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