2011 was a difficult year for Molly Campbell.
Recently divorced and mourning the end of her marriage, she was thrown for a loop when her best friend died from leukemia. It was Campbell's fourth close friend to pass away in less than a decade.
One night, Campbell had a dream.
In it, she was riding a bicycle when she came upon a Good Humor ice cream truck. The vision was something out of “Leave It to Beaver,” and when Campbell woke up, she was awash with a feeling of nostalgia and purpose.
She would start a traveling ice cream truck and be what the Good Humor Man was for a generation of American children, spreading cheer and creamy goodness wherever she went.
“It was clear I needed to reconnect with joy, after so much loss,” says Campbell. “I had grown up in Detroit jumping up and down for ice cream and I wanted to recreate that.”
She bought a used ice cream truck on Craigslist and decorated it with magenta and pink stripes and a purple cow.
Molly Moo’s was a hit right away.
Kids came running and even grumpy old men would get a pep in their step upon seeing her roll up, playing Beatles tunes from open windows.
But operating a food truck proved to be much more difficult that Campbell ever imagined. She had wanted to sell soft-serve ice cream, but that required running water and would cost additional money, so she stuck to pre-packaged popsicles and ice cream bars.
She tried to sell at local farmers’ markets, but since her product was not homemade, she had a hard time getting permission to set up. Then, there were different licenses that needed to be obtained, and then renewed every four months which put a significant dent into her profit margin.
“I am too old to be chased away by the cops and I can’t continue to live off my retirement any more,” Campbell said recently.
Over the weekend, she took to her Facebook page to announce that Molly Moo’s was closing, unless she could find a partner willing to invest money into the business.
“It makes me so sad...I had the desire to bring back something simple and old fashioned that had magic to it, and make people smile and I think I accomplished that, only for a short while. But most people have no clue how expensive it is to run this sort of business.”
Campbell's dream had come true, but sustaining it was a whole other matter. Families and wineries would book her for events, only to back out at the last minute. When she tried to set up at high school games, she was told she was parked in the red zone.
Still, she says, chasing the dream was worth it.
“I've never felt so good about delivering smiles, as I did doing Molly Moo’s. The truck, the ice cream, the music. It was pure magic.”
Campbell is actively seeking a buyer for her truck or a business partner to continue the venture. If you'd like to contact her, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org