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Dst In Your Observer 4/16/20

a little girl standing in front of a bus

Tourism operator chills with new pursuit

April 16, 2020

In a world where most people step out of their homes only for essentials, there’s still one sound that inspires many to race out the door: the inviting chime of an ice cream truck.

To many, The ChillMobile, a Sarasota-area ice cream truck operated by Discover Sarasota Tours CEO Tammy Hauser, represents a throwback of normal life. In another sense, it is a reminder that nearly everything has changed, especially in the tourism business.

“I went through all the five stages of grief,” Hauser said. “I had to go through all that, just lock myself in a room and scream and cry and stomp my feet.”

But Hauser turned her dejection into motivation. She booted up the 1979 ice cream truck she bought several months ago and rebranded it The ChillMobile. Upon invitation by parents, Hauser and her tiny papillon, Max, drive across neighborhoods around the area to sell ice cream.

Most of her offerings sell for $3-$4. On her menu are blasts from the past and a few connections to modernday, such as old-school “Bomb Pops” and a treat shaped like SpongeBob SquarePants. “It’s better for my psyche to be solving a problem than crying about something I have no control over,” Hauser said.