Nevada’s streets are hearing a familiar sound of summer again as a new ice cream truck starts making the rounds.
What they might not expect is that the truck is shorter than most adults.
Pint Sized Ice Cream, run by Nevada residents Chad and Jennifer Anderson, is a tiny three-wheeled green pickup truck with polka dots scattered about its body. A freezer is mounted on the back, carrying treats they can sell to people around town.
Chad always wanted to open a food truck and loves barbecuing, but couldn’t devote the time between his job at the Iowa Department of Transportation, Jennifer’s full-time job at Iowa State Extension and raising his children Oliver, 5, and twins Amelia and Maxwell, 3.
The name is a play on both the size of an ice cream container, the size of their kids and the diminutive vehicle.
“Get it? Yuk, yuk, yuk,” Jennifer said, slapping her knee.
About two months ago, Chad decided to sell his Harley-Davidson motorcycle and replace it with another: a three-wheeler Cushman Truckster in Colorado that he spent 20 hours driving round-trip to acquire (the vehicle is classified as a motorcycle under state law.)
They spent the next few weeks getting it fixed up, wrapped and equipped with a freezer. In the span of about an hour and a half Tuesday, a state inspector approved the little green machine for selling pre-packaged treats and a supplier dropped off the first round of ice cream to their house.
The Pint Sized was ready to roll.
Pint Sized is part side business, part passion project for the Andersons. The two both work full-time in Ames, but Chad expects to able to drive around Nevada from 4 to 8 p.m. through the summer and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays once they get their bearings.
It’ll also make appearances at local functions, such as the Fourth of July parade in Nevada and when RAGBRAI riders come through town after Ames’ overnight stop.
The couple will look at buying a trailer to haul the truck to nearby cities after the Fourth of July, partially to bring back the iconic sound of an ice cream truck through those streets.
“Nobody ever goes to the small towns, so we want to stick to our town, the small towns, then Ames,” he said.
Pint Sized isn’t meant to make the Andersons a lot of money. As long as it can cover the cost of operation and help out a bit with daycare and other bills, the owners consider it a financial success.
For Jennifer, the truck is a way to give back to the community after supporting her and the family through her breast cancer diagnosis two years ago.
“Life became a ‘cherish the small moments’ kind of thing,” she said. “Our friends and people within the community, within our church, did a lot for us, so we wanted to make sure we can give back in some way, bringing business to Nevada and having something special.”
And most importantly for the kids of the city, it brings them the first consistent ice cream truck in years. The demand was pretty clear: when the large orange supply truck pulled into the cul-de-sac, a group of six children watched intently from the street.
When Chad started playing the ice cream song over the small smeaker mounted to the truck roof, they came running.
Local resident Kasee Rasmussen and her 2-year-old daughter Mara were the first customers for the new business, buying a pair of Powerpuff Girls bars. She saw the truck’s Facebook posts and decided to come out.
“It’s just kind of exciting,” she said. “You think of that as being an old-fashioned type of thing, so it’s fun that it’s happening now for us.”
Above all, Chad and Jennifer view Pint Sized as a long-term gift to their young children.
Once they become old enough to ride in the truck with their parents, they’ll be put to work selling ice cream, learning to manage money and deal with customers as the truck cements itself in the community for years to come.
“They’ll grow up with this,” Chad said. “They’ll come out with me and help me, and it’ll teach them to get out and teach them a work ethic and respect and how to act in public.”
But for Oliver, the only child old enough to ride along in the one-seater with his dad, there was one other thing he’s excited for when he starts traveling on the routes.
“I get to have daddy time with him,” he said.