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Nostalgia and Frozen Treats Mix with the Funky Freezer Ice Cream Trucks

by on August 04, 2013 4:00 AM

When Mike Burger’s children were younger, he remembers sitting on the front porch of his home in Montoursville and enjoying a frosty treat with them from the Ice Cream Annie truck.

The simplicity of the business caused Burger to joke with his wife on that day more than 15 years ago.

“I said, ‘This would be the type of business that would be simple to operate,’” he says. “‘Wouldn’t it be cool to own something like this?’”

The Ice Cream Annie truck became the Funky Freezer and after working with the company for six years, Burger is currently in the process of buying the business, which started in 2000 with one truck servicing the Williamsport area. Now there are four Funky Freezer trucks that sell frozen treats in Columbia, Northumberland, Lycoming and Centre counties.

Burger says the trucks don’t have a set schedule for their routes, so if State College residents want some ice cream from the truck, all they have to do is listen for the famous “Turkey in the Straw” jingle that has been a staple for mobile ice cream vendors since the 1950s.

Generally, a truck gets going at around 1 p.m. and is on the road until about 8:30 at night. Burger says the trucks aren’t out past reasonable dusk hours because of safety and noise concerns. The goal is to have an operation that provides a fun service to residents that isn’t an annoyance.

“We move around a lot,” he says. “And that makes for a very cordial relationship with multiple municipalities.”

Business has been steady for the past five years, Burger says. There are a few other ice cream trucks that the Funky Freezer competes with throughout its service areas, but mostly the competition comes in the form of chain locations such as Dairy Queen and Rita’s Italian Ice, which provide a place for customers to go later at night.

However, there’s uniqueness to an ice cream truck. It offers a sense of nostalgia and Americana that most locations just can’t provide.

“People want to pass on what they grew up with,” Burger says about the ice cream trucks. While the Funky Freezer still offers old-time favorites like the Nutty Buddy and ice cream sandwiches, it also has new items like character pops from the movie “Madagascar.” More adult choices are also available such as Dove and Turtle bars.

In addition to riding around neighborhoods, trucks can also make a stop at a special event or business. During last week’s mini heat wave, three different corporations in Williamsport called the Funky Freezer to have a truck stop by to give their employees a 10-minute ice cream break from the muggy temperatures. Customers can schedule an ice cream truck visit by calling 570-865-6446 or going to the company’s website.

“I think the desire of people is to have a quality product at a reasonable price,” Burger says about the business. “It’s also about maintaining family values – the things people want to reinforce.”

Shawn Christ is a recent Penn State graduate who is working as an intern for
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