- Associated Press - Friday, July 18, 2014

DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) - Brett Smith is chasing his dreams in a rusted-out, 55-year-old Chevy.

The seats of the 1959 Step Van are missing, and so is the engine. It’ll take at least 60 days to fix all that’s wrong and make it shine.

Still, Smith can already see himself riding through the streets of Dothan, tinkling out the sounds of summer as children yell: “It’s the ice cream man!”

But Smith, a general manager at Goldfingers and co-owner of the soon-to-be-in-business Dothan Ice Cream, doesn’t want this to be just any old ice cream truck.

He and his family hope to serve real scoops one day, not just the novelty, pre-packaged pops and creams found on most ice cream trucks. He also wants the tinkling bells to sound out songs such as “Panama” by Van Halen, or maybe a tune from AC/DC - something that would bring a smile to parents.

In addition, he plans to work events - birthdays, weddings and parties - and maybe even park in different parts of town as a food truck.

But the real goal, he said, is to create experiences that allow people to connect in a fulfilling way.

And while that may sound like a lofty ambition for an ice cream truck, Smith said he really means it.

“What we want to do with the ice cream truck is to have a positive impact on families and allow them to create favorable and fond memories with their children,” he said. “For me growing up, it was a re-done 1940’s mail truck Jeep that someone had just painted up and handed the Push-Ups or Popsicles over the side.”

Smith said he’s watched the food-truck culture grow in other places, such as Pensacola, Atlanta and Nashville, and he’d love to see more of that in Dothan. It brings value to the community, and tends to bring people together, as well, he said.

But chasing his own dream of serving ice cream in scoops from a bonafide food truck is not as simple as it sounds, Smith said.

Selling the novelty treats is simple enough. Requirements include a business license and a driver’s license.

To sell scoops or soft-serve from a truck, however, requires a brick-and-mortar building or commissary, certified by the health department. The truck also would need to be certified by the health department, and both would require items such as triple sinks and refrigeration capabilities in addition to freezers.

Still, Smith said he plans to do whatever he can to make it work. Right now, the truck is receiving a complete overhaul by Eben Rummell and Chris Wells at Rummell’s Customs and Fab Works on Highway 231.

But one day, it could be the stuff of dreams, Smith said.

“We may make money, or we may absolutely just turn over in our graves,” he said. “That’s the risk we’re willing to take. We’ve had this idea for a year-and-a-half. It’s just been a matter of overcoming doubting my dreams.”


Information from: The Dothan Eagle, https://www.dothaneagle.com

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