Food trucks are everywhere these days. You can find them at state, county and other fairs throughout the country. You can find them downtown near the hottest spots in the big cities. You can also find food trucks, such as New Richmond's own Bee's Ice Cream truck, on the streets of some small towns.
"I've been running the truck for four years now and this summer will be my fifth year in business," said Bee's owner and operator Breanna Simon. "I started the truck when I was 17 and put all of my savings into it. I'm really excited to be going into my fifth year, especially since we are adding a trailer that will have mini donuts and snow cones to our arsenal."
Simon is also excited about being named one of the top 10 most delicious food trucks in Wisconsin by Best of Wisconsin, a website that ranks the best things to do and places to go in Wisconsin, including best restaurants, the top 10 myths and urban legends, and the top 10 perfect Wisconsin getaways.
"I'd never heard of the site before they tagged me on Facebook for the story about being one of the top 10 trucks in the state," Simon said. "My fiance, Chase Seibel, and I have put a ton of work on the truck and the new trailer, so it is great to get recognition for being a top truck in the state from a third party like Best of Wisconsin."
Bee's Ice Cream is the only western Wisconsin food truck to be named to the top 10 list, which Simon says is an honor considering most of the other trucks on the list are from the big cities in the state, such as Madison and Milwaukee.
"Even though it is an honor to be named to a list like this, I'm still going to keep doing what I'm doing. That being said, I'm the type of person who is never okay with staying the same. I want to go above and beyond what my customers expect from us and continue to find new ways to keep our truck interesting and keep giving our customers what they want, as well as something new."
Best of Wisconsin gave the following description of Bee's Ice Cream on their top 10 list (bestthingswi.com/food-truck/):
"How can we not add an ice cream truck to our top 10 list and why doesn't every town have one?! Bee's Ice Cream has ice cream treats, snow cones, cotton candy, and our beloved classic ice cream flavors. They have been traveling the streets of New Richmond for the past four years."
According to Simon, the main reason her business has been so successful is because of the customer base she has been able to build over the last four years.
"We pride ourselves on having great customer service where we don't just take your order, give you your food and tell you to move on," Simon said. "We take the time to get to know our customers and talk with them while we get them their treats. I recently saw a young girl who I have known since she was 2 years old at the New Richmond Fire Department Chili Feed."
Adding the new trailer, which Simon is calling "Sweet Bee's," to the Bee's Ice Cream brand will mean that Simon and her fiance can now travel much farther than they have in the past.
"The trailer really opens up a whole new ballgame for us," Simon said. "The range of the food truck is only about an hour and half, so adding the trailer will mean we can travel farther out of state, to places like Iowa and other big festivals across the Midwest. As long as there is a profit to be made, the sky's the limits for us now that we have the trailer."
To say that Simon and her fiance are busy is an understatement. Simon and her fiance both work full time and are also both in grad school. Simon also coaches the Western Wisconsin Stars girls hockey co-op during the winter season. The couple will get married this fall.
In addition to everything else that is going on for Simon this year, Bee's Ice Cream will also be featured on an episode of Discover Wisconsin this summer. According to Simon, the episode featuring her food truck is scheduled to air on June 24 and June 25 on Fox Sports North (Saturday, 10 a.m.), WQOW - Eau Claire (Sunday, 5 p.m.) and on FSN Wisconsin (Saturday, 10 a.m.). The episode can then be watched online once it has aired.
"We are expecting to get a ton of calls from across the state to come to fairs once the episode airs. We will have to gear up for that and will continue to strive to be the best," Simon said. "I always want to be number 1 no matter what category you look at us in."
Being on Discover Wisconsin is generally something businesses and destinations have to pay to do, but Simon said the Bee's Ice Cream segment was paid for by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
"The board really felt like we represented them well, so they wanted to pay for us to be featured in the Discover Wisconsin episode," Simon said. "It is a big honor to have the board recognize us like that and be willing to pay for our appearance on the show."
To find out more about Bee's Ice Cream, visit beesicecreamtruck.com or facebook.com/beesicecreamtruck.
"Without the support of our customers and the people on our route in New Richmond, we wouldn't be where we are now," Simon said. "This doesn't feel like a job anymore. It feels like our customers are family now. I want to say thank you to all of our customers because our success is due to their support."