A Sweet Ride: B’s Cool Treats
In her bright yellow and burnt orange 1979 Good Humor truck, Brenda Zook peddles sweet nostalgia. She is the guts and the grins behind B’s Cool Treats— the kind of business that lets adults relive their youth and children make the most of theirs.
Zook carries more than 40 high-quality frozen treats (including locally made artisan popsicles from Pop Craft Pops) to neighborhoods, businesses, birthday parties and employee appreciation gettogethers throughout the Sarasota-Manatee area. Zook loves the gig she stumbled into; it is one she never expected would find her.
“How it started was, one Saturday morning, my partner was reading the paper and saw this ice cream truck for sale and said to me, ‘This is what you ought to do,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, right,’” says Zook, 62, who had spent 25 years in the electronics industry. “I was scared. I had a regular job at the time with good benefits.”
But Zook was looking for a career move when the newspaper ad appeared. She went to check out the truck. She vacillated. She didn’t buy it at first. Then, she took a class at the Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County about how to start and manage a business. A year after that, the same truck appeared in the paper and a different owner was selling it. Zook took it as a sign. That was in 2011—the year everything shifted.
“I knew what I needed to do,” Zook says. “I wrote a business plan.”
With her new ride—a vintage truck with an original cold plate freezer and a recently installed compressor—Zook was ready. She understood the wheels, as she had serviced her own cars in her youth. She also got regular checkups from her buddies at Burks Transmission & Service. She started cruising into neighborhoods.
“I still remember that first day when I went out in a neighborhood and turned on my music and started driving down the street. I was kind of embarrassed that I was bringing that attention to myself,” Zook says.
Nerves aside, she visited the same neighborhoods at the same time each week and garnered regulars. Then came food trucks, farmers’ markets, summer camps and corporate events. Zook is known for selling the Good Humor line’s éclairs and chocolate chip cookie sandwiches, and Blue Bunny’s drumsticks and bomb pops, among other old-fashioned delights. She has six $1 items but the average price is $2.50. She even serves a dog-friendly ice cream.
“One thing about my job is no one’s ever grumpy when they come up to my truck, which is nice,” Zook says. “I feel like I’m always making friends.”
B’s Cool Treats: 941-363-0456; bscooltreats.com