Nicholas started dreaming of owning her own ice cream truck, after being frustrated in the job market, and with her parents’ help, bought an old truck her grandmother found on Craig’s List and fixed it up.
“She says she just painted it, but she did much more than that,” said Nicholas’s mom Christine. “She pounded out dents, designed the logo and replaced mirrors and broken windows.” She also installed coolers and equipment, Nicholas’s mother said.
The Chill Out Ice Cream truck made its debut at the Montrose Home & Leisure Expo in April, Nicholas said, and was a big success.
“It went great,” she said. “It was awesome.”
Nicholas also drives around the streets of Montrose, visiting parks when kids are there, and parking at different locations around town. She hasn’t determined a regular route yet, she said.
The Chill Out Ice Cream truck was at the Museum of the Mountain West’s Western Movie Days event last week, and it’s a regular fixture at the Main in Motion on Thursdays in downtown Montrose.
So far, Nicholas has five more events booked for the summer, and she handles it like a businesswoman, checking inventory control and watching the bottom line. She says she has a captive market.
“There are no other ice cream vendors on the street, except for a lady with a golf cart and a cooler on the back,” she said.
Christine Nicholas said the business is all Kiley’s, and that the teen took care of all the necessary permits, sales tax, vendor fees and health inspection.
“At the end of the day she’s exhausted, but I can see she’s having a blast,” she said. “She loves the kids.”
After she graduates in 2011, Nicholas will decide whether to keep her business going, but even if she doesn’t, she says she will keep it in the family, perhaps turning it over to a younger cousin.
“My little brother wants it, but he’s only 10,” Nicholas said.
Researching suppliers and other aspects of doing business took a lot of time, but Nicholas settled on Meadow Gold in Grand Junction and Frosty Freeze in Colorado Springs for the wide array of frozen treats and candy she offers.
But being a typical teenager, Nicholas also finds time for fun to help her parents with their business. She likes go boating with her family – she loves wave-boarding – and riding her four-wheeler, she said.
Having a successful business will help her save money for college, Nicholas said, where she plans to major in psychology.
Nicholas also finds time to teach dance and hip-hop, and said she plans to pay her parents back for lending her to money to get started, which shouldn’t take too long at the rate she’s going.
“I applied for a job everywhere last summer and no-one even called me back,” she said. “So I created my own job.”