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The Ice Cream Truck hits the streets of DL

The Ice Cream Truck is being run by Joe Turman (left) and Shane Sannes, who can be tracked via GPS on their Ice Cream Truck website. DL NEWSPAPERS/Paula Quam

The old-fashioned images and memories of the ice cream truck coming down the road, playing that whimsical, carnival-style music out the loud speakers as kids run out to meet it, may be one imagined in black and white.

But now, that scene is all coming into color, as The Ice Cream Truck of Detroit Lakes has begun making its way around town.

Ice cream bars, drum sticks, cookie sandwiches, Snickers and Heath ice cream bars… a list of over a dozen ice cream treats are now mobile and ready to be rolled down the road to the hot, hungry masses.

The woman behind the truck is Helen Foltz, owner of Papa Murphy’s Pizza in Detroit Lakes.

“I’ve been thinking about this for long time,” said Foltz. “I thought it would be great for DL, but I needed the right guys to do it.”

Foltz found those two guys working in her restaurant — 22-year-old Shane Sannes and 15-year-old Joe Turman. “They have great, out-going, entrepreneurial personalities,” said Foltz, who even offered the young men a small part-ownership in the truck.

“I knew a lot about getting things installed in the truck,” said Sannes, who is going to M State for auto body. Sannes took a standard, white truck and cut a big window out.  He added Ice cream decals, freezers, speakers, a back-up camera for safety and a make-shift point of sale to convert the truck into a sweet business on wheels.

While Sannes literally got the wheels turning, Turman worked the IT side of The Ice Cream Truck.

“We have a GPS tracker on it,” said Turman, “so if you go on our website (, you can see if the truck is in the area. There’s a map of DL, and it’ll show a little dot of where we are.”

While Foltz and The Ice Cream Truck guys will be establishing something of a regular route so that people around town will know approximately when the truck will be coming down their street, they are also busy taking requests for appearances.

“They’ve already booked some elementary school groups that have set it up for their class picnics, preschool graduations, and we’ll go to different events like weddings, reunions, graduations…” said Foltz, who also had the truck out at Parkfest last week and is set to be at the Boys and Girls Club on the last day of school.

The Ice Cream Truck will also go out to businesses for breaks, lunches or customer appreciation events, birthday parties or anywhere where there are a group of ice cream-loving people.

The cost of the treats varies from $1 to $2.50.

“And we also have what are called ‘Truck Bucks,’ so if somebody wants to buy those for somebody as a gift, they can do that,” said Sannes. “Employers can throw them in employees’ paychecks… things like that.”

Foltz and the Ice Cream Truck got approval from the city council for a transient merchant license a couple of weeks ago, giving them the go-ahead to start selling the beloved, summertime treats.

The truck will be out and about the city every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., except on bad-weather days.

The guys of the truck say they’re excited to make their slow, 5 mph roll down the streets in search of excited children.

“It definitely makes the kids happy,” said Sannes. “And that’s our goal… this gives them something to look forward to.”

But Foltz says they all know there’s just something about their business that will please “the kid in all of us.”                

“We’ve had a lot of older people excited to hear about us because they’re the ones that remember ice cream trucks from when they were little,” said Foltz, who says while many cities do have these trucks, she’s always been surprised that Detroit Lakes didn’t.

“It’s just kind of a fun, festive thing that I think is going to do well in in DL,” said Foltz, who says the truck will run throughout the summer and somewhat into the fall.

Paula Quam

Paula Quam is the editor for Forum Communications Co. newspapers in Detroit Lakes, Perham and Wadena, all in Minnesota.

(218) 844-1466