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The ChillMobile in Around The Ranch

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“The ChillMobile”: Cool Fun in Your Neighborhood

by: By Ernie Soller, Community Correspondent — 5/27/2020

Kids. They usually have a place to go to meet their friends, and to do something called “learning.”

That place is called “school,” and with the urgencies of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools are closed.

Kids are home with their families. And, for sometime at least, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all , dads, and/or moms are often not able to be at home. They both work, usually outside the house.

But then, families were told to stay home and “shelter in place.” Schools put out on-line teaching programs, and parents spent more time playing games with their kids at home. (My younger son went out and bought a badminton set, which he set up in his back yard so his kids could go outside to play—as long as it wasn’t raining!)

But after the kids do their online “homework,” after the board games are played several times over and the toys rearranged, after they’ve watched hours of TV and played outdoor games in the back yard, what’s a kid to do?

When that pivotol point of boredom hits, being a kid during COVID-19 is a little like being in solitary confinement. They can’t have their friends over.

“Social distancing” has taken over and, as a kid, you’re kind of stuck.

However… someone has stepped in to alleviate the “pain and suffering” of kids and grandkids.

Tammy Hauser is the owner of Vintage Sarasota Gifts and Discover Sarasota Tours. She operates a tour business in downtown Sarasota, which offers 18 different packages to tourists, geared to the interests of her clients, such as a city tour, a circus tour, and even a tour of Sarasota’s Amish community.

She hires performers to be tour guides, since they’re adept at speaking in public, and can easily master the specific tour information for the benefit of Hauser’s clients.

After a hugely successful February, with the arrival of the virus in March, Hauser’s tour business became nonexistent. After all, when everything is shutting down, who is going to book a tour?

So, what to do?

A while ago, Hauser bought a vintage late-70s Good Humor ice creak truck, which she usually parks outside her office in downtown Sarasota, primarily as an advertising gimmick to bring in the tourists.

Now, however, with tours being cancelled, the ice cream truck has become her lifeline—and a way for kids to be kids again.

Hauser went on Facebook, advertising the availability of “home-delivered ice cream treats.” And what happened next is a real pandemic success story.

Lakewood Ranch moms picked up on the advertising on Facebook, told their friends, and now Hauser, with the able assistance of Max, the Ice Cream Dog, is to be found driving the “ChillMobile” through the streets of Lakewood Ranch’s neighborhoods, dispensing ice cream—and the ability to be a kid (or to be a kid once again).

I caught up with Hauser at Lakewood Ranch’s Mallery Park village. She told me that the last time she visited there with the ChillMobile she had 1,000 sales in a two-hour period!

I saw parents and kids waiting at the curbside. I saw grandparents out there with their grandkids.

I saw a young girl running down the street to catch up with the ChillMobile.

Lakewood Ranch moms are even setting up kid birthday parties, using the ChillMobile. They call in advance and order a certain amount of goodies (a $20 minimum), and they Hauser delivers to the home of each kid with curbside service. The kids have a good time, and the kids and their families can wait at the end of their own driveways for the ice cream truck!

Hauser is now doing ice cream deliveries 10 hours a day, seven days a week!

And yes, I bought an ice cream bar from the ChillMobile. It took me back to my own childhood, waiting to hear the ice cream man’s bell ringing on a warm summer evening.

Congratulations, Tammy, and thanks for the memories!

For more information, visit TheChillMobile.com or call (612) 578-0952.

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