Just when you think it’s been done before, innovation pops up! The food truck business continually evolves. No one knows better than Chris Bissell, creator of ionGreenville. “We have 7,000 users on our app and the food truck calendar gets 20,000 page views each month.” The ionGreenville app is the go-to calendar for food trucks in Greenville.
Leah Vande Velde and Nathan Wright met walking their dogs. (Dog owners are like twins – they have their own language.) Immediately they put together (her) creative culinary career and (his) sales experience to create an ice cream business – Honest Scoop – coming this summer. “We want to bring back the ice cream social,” they both agreed.
What is Honest Scoop? “Our goal is to bring a new and unique mobile concept to the Greenville market and make high-quality ice cream and non-dairy (vegan) frozen dessert options,” Wright says. Their business plan stresses the collaboration with small businesses and local farmers in the Upstate to create unique batches and flavors.
All of the ingredients are sourced locally. The Honest Scoopers want to create flavors for events. For instance, they recently teamed up with a coffee house to create a coffee flavor ice cream for a grand opening. They have lots of ideas — locally sourced strawberries blended with cream from an Upstate dairy for a unique flavor could be a wedding option for a bride and groom. And, they can name their own ice cream flavor. (What a fun job — naming your own ice cream!)
Not just any truck. Honest Scoop is a 1950s Citroen H van being converted into an ice cream truck. The Citroen H van was produced post-World War II France as a simple front-wheel-driven van and only 500,000 were produced. It was the first mass-production van containing sliding doors and room to stand in the loading area. A perfect fit for a food truck! The Honest Scoop truck was formerly owned by a South American family as their family car.
How did they find the Citroen H van? Leah’s husband, Christian Vande Velde, is a professional cyclist and sports commentator who saw the van while on a recent trip to Europe. The Honest Scoop team have weekly video calls with the Netherland company, Karpatia Trucks, to see progress on their truck. The company is customizing the van with a kitchen, design, colors, and ships it ready to serve.
They also want to create non-dairy options and are busy mixing new ideas in their commercial kitchen at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate. Yes, the Children’s Museum kitchen rents out space and shares with the Museum Cafe. This cost-effective way to use rental kitchen space saves initial upfront costs for these foodie entrepreneurs.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, food trucks and mobile food services have fared well during the pandemic due to their high flexibility. Data from a recent economic census shows interesting sales numbers per state including the average employee salary. Nationally there are about 25,000 food trucks that generate about $1.2 billion into the U.S. economy. There is a list of truck-friendly sites and Texas shows the largest growth in mobile food options. As long as cities encourage business-friendly food truck policies, entrepreneurs like Vande Velde and Wright will be encouraged to scoop and thrive!
Amy Ryberg Doyle served for 12 years on Greenville City Council. She is married and has four children. An outdoors enthusiast, she likes to bike, swim and run, but not all in that order. She power-naps daily.