The Pink Cow thanks the media!
WCCO TV 10:00 News, Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Thank you WCCO for a 2 minute, 30 second story, teased for 24 hours prior!
Pioneer Press, Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Front page above the fold, metro wide!
Got up early to be interviewed by Melissa from the KS95 morning show.
Burnsville Sun Current, June 18, 2009
Burnsville family brings smiles around Burnsville, Lakeville with Pink Ice Cream van
The mother and daughter from Burnsville have their own business, Pink Cow Ice Cream.
"Everyone gets so excited when you drive up, they're all smiles," Lisa said. "Ice cream makes people happy."
The two drive around neighborhoods in Burnsville and Lakeville with a van they've decaled with their own logo and business name, which Allie, 12, created.
The business has been a family affair for the Saathoffs, as husband and father, Mark Saathoff, helped equip the van for hauling a freezer full of frozen goodies, installed a speaker system to boom ice cream truck music, and put in a special door for doling out the treats. Younger daughter, Addie, 9, often joins her mother and older sister on the road. Both girls go to Paideia Academy in Apple Valley.
The idea for a mobile ice cream business came from the girls' grandmother, Lois Wolter, of Burnsville.
"She talked about owning an ice cream truck and it sounded fun," Allie said. "I thought of the business name Pink Cow on a walk one day. Pink is my favorite color and when you think of ice cream you think of cows."
Being self-employed isn't a foreign idea to the Saathoffs. Lisa comes from a family that owned its own businesses, Kwik Trip convenience stores in Iowa. Mark has his own home theater business, Fidelity Ultra Inc., in Burnsville.
Research for starting an ice cream business began in earnest after Christmas last year.
"There are a lot of products," Lisa said. "We looked at having only soft serve or Italian ice, but the health codes were easier with what we have now as they are pre-wrapped."
Lisa, 41, has a marketing degree and has worked for Pillsbury.
Peddler permits were required to work in Burnsville and Lakeville. They got their van at a used vehicle company and took off the old design and put on their own, using the eye-catching color of hot pink. They bought a freezer on Craigslist.
The only major challenge with the mobile ice cream business was finding a way to keep the freezer cold over a period of time.
"With the first freezer we could only be out a couple hours at a time, but once we got an inverter that hooks it up to the van's engine we could be out longer," Lisa said.
They have another freezer at home and get their products from Blue Bell in Minneapolis. Lisa said the start up cost for the whole business was less than she thought it would be.
As Minnesota weather is unpredictable and it hasn't been real hot since Memorial Day weekend, the two entrepreneurs have not set up a route or determined how long each trip out will be. They have areas where they know people or know people have responded well. They aren't sure if they'll drive outside of Burnsville and Lakeville yet.
Lisa hopes they can sell treats at city events, like the ones in the park areas of the Heart of the City in Burnsville, otherwise legally the business isn't allowed in parks. They go to sport and activity events if they are invited.
"We also have daycares and assisted living homes we visit," Lisa said.
Allie loves seeing youngsters and families run up to the van and how they tear out of their homes upon hearing the van's music down the street.
"It's great to see their reactions," she said. "We've been chased down by people in their cars and bikes."
The two hope to be out every day the weather cooperates this summer. If it's sunny and 70 degrees or warmer, the Pink Cow van will most likely be heard and seen.
Lakeville This Week, June 18, 2009 and Burnsville This Week, June 25, 2009
|A new theme for an old summer tradition|
PHOTO: Allie Saathoff, 12, left, and her mother, Lisa Saathoff, right, started running their own ice cream truck business, Pink Cow Ice Cream, Memorial Day weekend. The mother-daughter duo serves neighborhoods in Lakeville and Burnsville. Photo by Derrick Williams
Mother-daughter team provide ice cold refreshments, lesson in family to Burnsville and Lakeville residents from the window of their ice cream truck
by Derrick Williams
The idea was to keep it simple by selling only pre-wrapped, frozen ice cream in neighborhoods in Burnsville and Lakeville.
“I thought it would be fun – be exciting,” Allie said.
For Lisa, as she thought more, she realized the ice cream truck could serve as a multi-faceted tool to teach her children about the nuances of business and of responsibility.
It could also be a great way to spend high-quality time with her 12-year-old daughter.
“The experience our kids would get definitely played a role,” Lisa said. “But how many other moms get a chance to spend this much time with their daughter?”
After a couple of months of preparations, Lisa said they had purchased and retrofitted a used van with a service window, applied pink decals, procured their ice cream supply from a local distributor, and obtained city permits to sell ice cream.
They decided to sell traditional favorites such as ice cream sandwiches and fudgecicles, and modern day treats like sour bomb-pops.
Allie taste-tested most of them.
By Memorial Day weekend, Pink Cow Ice Cream was ready to roll.
“I was nervous at first,” Allie said. “But it got easier the more people we helped.”
On the road, Lisa is the driver and Allie is the server and cashier. At home, Allie handles inventory and product research.
Allie’s father and grandmother – the same who first whipped up the ice cream truck idea – help out by running product to the truck when they run low.
“It’s been a wonderful experience for the whole family already,” Lisa said.
With running a small business comes some surprises. The biggest surprise is the reaction of people they’ve sold to.
“I can’t believe how excited people are about the truck,” Lisa said. “One lady actually directed us to her house. When the kids came running up, she was tearing up. I don’t know if it’s the nostalgia or what it is, but people love it.”
It’s not just young kids who chase the bright pink truck.
Allie said teenagers and whole families track them down.
“A lot of people seem to really like the whole idea,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Lisa said the truck is a two-year commitment, but added she isn’t worried about the profitability.
“It should pay for itself this year,” she said.
Allie, who just finished eighth grade at Paideia Academy in Apple Valley, said her friends think the ice cream truck is neat.
“They like it. They think it’s exciting,” she said.
Lisa speculates she and Allie may be among the only mother-daughter combos to sell ice cream.
And that’s part of what makes it so much fun, she said.
“At this point it’s a fun project for both of us,” Lisa said. “But we’re just scratching the surface. We’ve just got our feet wet. I have no idea what the future will hold.”
Visit www.pinkcowicecream.com for more information or call (952) 898-3964.
E-mail Derrick Williams at: