PIERCE — Sonia Ronspies has fond memories of hearing the bells on the ice cream truck from her days growing up in Norfolk.
"We had an ice cream truck drive around our neighborhood. They would ring the bell, and we would come running out, and they would sell us ice cream," she said.
Now, the Pierce woman, her husband, Pat, and three sons, Gavin and Trevin Larson, and Maddox Ronspies, hope to create similar fond memories in communities across Northeast Nebraska.
The family purchased an ice cream van and plans to sell the cool treats in various communities as R Xtreme Ice Cream. The truck will feature prepackaged ice cream, loaded ice cream sundaes, sno-cones, popsicles and ice cream sandwiches among its offerings.
The Ronspieses hope to have their truck operational by the end of this week.
Ronspies has called around to various communities to get permission to sell the treats in those areas. While they have not presented their plan in Norfolk yet, Ronspies said they have received permission from several towns, including Stanton, Clarkson, Osmond, Plainview, Creighton, Wausa, Battle Creek and Tilden. They plan to kick off their adventure in their hometown of Pierce.
Folks in communities as far west as Ainsworth and Valentine have expressed interest in being part of R Xtreme Ice Cream's regular route, but Ronspies said she's not sure if that will be an immediate possibility.
"Our goal is to have more than one truck by next summer," she said.
The truck will be available to book for parties, showers and other events in which hosts want to make ice cream treats available for purchase, she said.
The Ronspieses also operate a boutique and event rentals business, so oldest sons, Gavin and Trevin, will be responsible for a lot of the ice cream truck's operation.
"I thought it would be a really good part-time job for the boys," she said.
Ronspies said she envisions the truck will be out until September and will start again next April. She had hoped to make it available near community swimming pools at break time or at ball parks, but the current situation with the coronavirus may force them to modify some of the initial plans.
Ronspies said they are working with communities so they can let residents know when they will be coming to town. Their schedule also will be posted in advance on R Xtreme Ice Cream’s Facebook page so parents can prepare and plan accordingly.
Plus, those who are nearby likely will hear them coming up the road.
"We really envision driving through the streets, ringing the bell and having the kids come out, and we'll safely pull over to let them buy their ice cream," she said. "That's kind of what we're hoping."