WILTON, Conn. – Three young Wilton women who started a successful business with an ice cream truck in 2011 are ready to move on to new things. But the lessons they learned in developing the business will stay with them for a lifetime.
Lindsay Wheeler, Steph Fricke and Taylor Toll are seeking a buyer for their business, College Creamery. The three started the business as college freshmen. Now seniors, they would like to get started on their permanent career paths. And what they learned in the business world with the ice cream truck may have been even more beneficial than any business class.
“It has been incredible,’’ said Wheeler, who studies at Middlebury College in Vermont. “It was a great learning experience. We learned a lot of invaluable things that you might not even learn as a business major. We learned about working with clients, time management, buying, ordering, selling, all the things that come along with owning a business. But we were doing it with best friends.”
The women bought a 1977 Chevrolet truck in York, Pa., restored it and painted it to get their business started. Getting organized and started was the hardest part of the process, Wheeler said.
“We had to find the truck online, and then we didn’t know how to judge if the truck was legit,’’ she said. “Then we had to try to find time to go look at them. Once we got the business going, everything fell into place. The startup may have been more work than I anticipated.”
Toll, who attends Bucknell University, and Fricke, who goes to the University of Vermont, came home with Wheeler each May to get the business rolling. They booked parties, attended sporting events and tournaments, and corporate outings. They even sold merchandise, and their offerings included shaved ice and baked goods and candy.
“We were hoping parties would become a big part of the business,’’ Wheeler said. “We didn’t have an example to follow. We figured in the worst-case scenario, we’d go to the pond and sit there all day. We started getting a lot of requests, made some nice business cards and presented ourselves well. There were some weeks where we were booked solid. When it’s busy like that is when it’s the most fun.”
After meeting expenses and helping with college costs, the women supported education-based organizations in Wilton. They were featured in media outlets, including Fox News and the Huffington Post.
Wheeler and her friends would like to sell their truck to a Fairfield County buyer and keep it in the area if possible. People interested can contact them through the College Creamery website or Facebook page. Wheeler said she can provide an extensive information package about the business upon request.
“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done,’’ Wheeler said. “It has been a great experience and I’ve learned so much and made so many great connections. It has been very rewarding.”
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