They scream for this ice creamLAKE CITY — When Harold Rye turns a neighborhood corner, he sees children's faces light up.
By: Jon Swedien, The Republican Eagle
LAKE CITY — When Harold Rye turns a neighborhood corner, he sees children's faces light up.
The kids, Rye says, jump up and run, unsure whether they should head into the house for cash or toward his truck.
Rye is the ice cream man.
"It's great to see those kids get excited over something so simple," he said.
Along with his wife, Sandra, Rye started up Soft Serve Treats in the summer of 2007. Since then the Ryes, based in Lake City, have traveled the area — Red Wing, Lake City, Wabasha and parts of Wisconsin — in their large square blue and white truck selling ice cream cones and other frozen treats.
Once common place, ice cream trucks are now largely a thing of the past. But the Ryes are bringing the business back.
"Some people get real excited about this," Sandra Rye said. "It's nostalgia."
The Ryes only did business in Wabasha their first summer. The next year they received their state license and began spending their days in Red Wing and western Wisconsin as well.
This summer they've spent Monday, Wednesday and Friday in Red Wing. On the weekends they've often gone to special events where they know there'll be crowds.
"That's one thing about being mobile, compared to a brick and mortar business. Where there's people we can go to them," Rye said.
This month the couple will break from their normal routine and travel to festivities like River City Days and local county fairs.
Prior to running Soft Serve Treats, the Ryes owned and operated their own movie rental store in Lake City. When that industry began to slow, the Ryes decided to get out.
But after being self-employed for a longtime, he wanted to stay that way. And that's when he came up with the ice cream truck idea.
"It's something people can have fun with, Rye said. Us too."