CHARLESTON (AP) — It all started with a dream.
As a boy, Rocky Parsons watched his father leave every day for work as a milkman for Broughton. His father sold milk and ice cream and young Parsons dreamed of the day he could follow in his father’s footsteps in what he thought had to be the “coolest” job ever.
When Parsons was 17, his father passed away — pushing young Rocky more and more toward his goal of one day being the ice cream man who would put a smile on the face of every boy and girl he met.
It took several years, but on May 30, at age 37, Parsons’s dream became a reality with the grand opening of Rocky’s World of Ice Cream.
He shares his dream with his fiancee, Natashua Crede, 38, and his son Rocky Parsons II, 13, who ride along with him in his renovated 13-passenger bus.
“Our motto is to give kids the ultimate ice cream experience,” Crede said. “We are selling an experience that you can’t buy in a store.”
The ice cream truck trio’s experience started in September when Rocky Parsons purchased the bus from a neighbor. Renovating the bus was a long, grueling process involving scraping off the old paint, repainting, removing the majority of the chairs, installing a freezer, applying for the proper permits and much more.
But all of the hard work paid off.
“The best part of this job is the kids,” Crede said. “You see them jumping up and down so excited to get some ice cream. It’s just a rewarding feeling.”
As a recent Marshall University graduate, Crede works full time at Suttle and Stalnaker as a business adviser and consultant.
“The two jobs keep me very busy, but it is nice to be able to spend time with my family,” she said.
Business, like the bus, is rolling.
In the few short weeks that Rocky’s World of Ice Cream has been open, it has already developed several dedicated customers and with more than 100 likes on their Facebook page.
The Facebook page also lets people know where the bus will be for the day. And what ice cream truck would be complete without its own music box?
“They hear us before they see us,” Parsons said. “But my son gets all the credit for the music box. He is the one that found it and he won’t let us forget it.”
One unique feature of this ice cream truck is the lack of a serving window. Instead, the family hands out ice cream through the front doors. This allows them to better interact with their customers and adds to the ice cream experience.
“We don’t just want to be there to hand out ice cream and be on our way,” Parsons said. “We want to spend time talking to the kids, getting to know them and have fun with them.”
The ice cream truck has not only been a hit with children but with adults as well. Crede said several adults have remarked on their enjoyment of the Rocky’s World of Ice Cream experience. They have also reminisced on their childhood and the joy they felt when they heard the familiar tune from the ice cream truck as it rolled down their street.
In the future, the traveling treat crew hopes to make games available for their customers to play as they eat their ice cream.
The ice cream truck has also served as a fundraiser for Winfield Little League and Cross Lane’s Children’s Miracle Network.
“We can do just about anything,” Crede said.
Their best seller is the ice cream shaped like SpongeBob SquarePants. It tastes like fruit punch and cotton candy with blue gumballs for eyes.
Parsons hopes to be known as the lovable ice cream man for years to come and said his son has already talked about taking over the family business. “It’s great being able to have the freedom that comes with working for yourself,” Parsons said. “And no matter how tough my day is I’m always able to put a smile on my face for the kids. Seeing them happy is the reason I do what I do.”