Jul 30, 2014
Teachers Sweeten Summer as Owners of Milford Soft Serve Ice Cream Truck
What sweeter way is there for two Fairfield Ludlowe High School teachers to spend summer break than owning a soft serve ice cream truck?
Last summer the husband-and-wife team Pat and Stefanie Cole decided to satisfy their entrepreneurial itch by launching an ice cream truck, Milford Soft Serve, inspired by a piece of Pat’s childhood growing up on Staten Island.
“I never would have thought of soft serve but he grew up with it,” says Stefanie Cole, who grew up in New Fairfield. “We have a lot of adults who come up and say, ‘I haven’t had this since I was a kid.’”
Their truck, which is now operating for its second season, sells vanilla and chocolate soft serve (swirled and with sprinkles if you like, right), sundaes and packaged ice cream.
They travel around local neighborhoods several days a week and set up at events like the Woodmont Farmer’s Market in Milford, as they did on Wednesday. They are available for private events and parties as well.
For the Milford residents who married this past October and are expecting their first child in September, ice cream is the perfect combination of Pat’s childhood nostalgia and Stefanie’s business sense. She teaches business at Fairfield Ludlowe High School and he teaches English.
“The seasonal aspect was appealing to us, and it’s recession proof,” says Stefanie Cole, but more than that, ice cream is a fun business to be in.
“It’s different than being in school. The kids are running towards us instead of away from us,” she says with a laugh.
That doesn’t mean the first year of owning an ice cream truck was easy. Pat Cole admits there were a few bumps in the road.
“The equipment is very specialized,” he says. “Licenses are a big deal, through the state and the town.”
“It’s definitely the kind of business where you have to know somebody,” says his wife. Luckily the couple has a friend in Staten Island who operates a fleet of ice cream trucks, so they had a good resource when they decided to start their business.
They quickly learned the importance of serving packaged ice cream in addition to soft serve cups and cones.
“We thought who would want a packaged ice cream when you can have the soft serve, but we had like five kids crying,” she says.
“You have to have SpongeBob,” Pat Cole adds with a laugh.
Now that they’re into their second season, those kinks have been worked out and they’re starting to see repeat customers. For the future, they’d like to work a number of carnivals because “they’re a perfect fit.”
“Carnivals are more than one night and people go expecting to eat,” says Stefanie Cole.
But for now, they’re happy. The two get out on the truck as early as April, when school is still in session, and they run through early fall. They say working in the spring is more difficult because they’re burned out from teaching and they push themselves to meet the demands of customers who are ready for summer.
“People are itching for summer,” she says. “We try to stick to the weekends in the fall. The neighborhoods are not as busy because people are tired of summer.”
Find Milford Soft Serve in area neighborhoods and along the Milford shoreline this summer. If you’re interested in booking them for a private event or want more information, contact them through milfordsoftserve.com.