When people see Gigi Huscroft drive by they literally scream for ice cream.
It is almost a rockstar status she holds as the Ice Cream Lady, with kids (and adults) running after her little white truck when they hear the music playing in their neighbourhood.
“I have a lot of regulars and the funny part is that people quite often don’t recognize me outside of the truck. It is the best job because where else do you get kids yelling ‘your awesome’ and ‘I love you,’” said Huscroft of her small business. “The funny part is, you are always waving and I will find myself in my regular vehicle driving and waving. My husband will say what are you doing.”
It is hard to believe there are any more ways to tantalize tastebuds, but the Ice Cream Lady has added a new item to her menu, cupcakes. And, not just any cupcakes. Through a lengthy trial and error testing period, albeit a tasty one, Huscroft has an arsenal of flavours and cupcake concoctions. This has added to her title as the Ice Cream Lady to include the Cupcake Lady.
“I have baked hundreds and hundreds of recipes until I got it down, including hundreds of flops, but its been awesome for our family. With the economy as bad as it is and the world in the state that it is, you have to be able to teach your kids they can still have dreams. The more people told me I couldn’t do this by saying you aren’t a professional baker, why are you trying this now, or you can’t do this nobody is going to buy your cupcakes — I thought no, I want to show my kids you can do what you want to do if you follow your passion,” said Huscroft.
So that is exactly what she did. When she moved with her husband and kids to Penticton from Calgary a few years ago she thought running an ice cream truck was a fun idea and great way to pay her bills. The business has also become a means of self-empowerment for the entrepeneur.
“So many people are struggling right now and people say it’s a crazy time to be doing this, but when is a good time to take a risk and do something?,” said Huscroft, adding by thinking outside of the box she has created a successful venture. “In this kind of economy you have to try and start out as modestly as you can and you have to get creative. Don’t be afraid to do something different that people say you can’t do.”
Running with that idea, she incorporated cupcakes into her business plan. Huscroft plans on having them throughout the May to October farmer’s market season and selling them out of her roving truck on the weekends. Huscroft can provide her cupcake services for special events such as weddings, parties, birthdays, grads, anniversaries or any other special occasion. The Cupcake Lady also incorporated a neat way for people to customize their baked goods with signature cupcakes.
“You can create it with your favourite flavours, or, pick the flavours the recipient likes and dedicate it to them on our website. It is a personalized cupcake for that special person. There is a million ideas out there. If you have an idea I can do it and you will love it — I guarantee it,” said Huscroft.
All of her creations are made in a commercial kitchen that the Cupcake Lady rents out and made with gourmet ingredients. There is no artificial ingredients and Huscroft made it a point to not make the sweetness so overpowering you can’t enjoy them. Huscroft is proud of her business and the interaction she gets to have meeting new people on her route and visiting with regulars. For her, it is the dream job in a dream location.
“It is the lifestyle that brought us here. We love Calgary and were originally from the Kootenays, but we came here on vacation looked on the website and saw the slogan ‘A place to stay forever’ and it was exactly right. We just fell in love with the city,” said Huscroft.
For more information on the Cupcake Lady visit www.thecupcakeladybc.com, find her at the farmer’s market starting in May or watch and listen for the little white truck driving in your neighbourhood the next sunny day.