Since last summer, a Spruce Grove, Alta., teen has been carving out a niche for himself with an entrepreneurial venture. It’s a budding young business that’s been gaining more recognition every week.
Around his neighbourhood, 16-year-old Harding Garratt is known by another name: Tie Dye Ice Cream Guy.
A couple of times a week, Garratt takes his vintage Dickie Dee’s ice cream bike for a spin – to sell frozen treats to anyone who wants them.
“I get a lot of people asking where I got it from,” the Grade 10 student told CTV News Edmonton from outside his house, “asking numbers, how old I am.”
It’s an occupation the teenager comes by honestly.
“We were buying ice cream,” said Garratt, “and my mom went on a huge, ‘Back in my day we used to have the Dickie Dees man come around,’ and then she said, ‘We should get one of those for you.'”
But finding his vintage Dickie Dees ice cream bike wasn’t so easy.
“It took a long, long time,” said Garratt. “We went through a bunch of steps to find it.”
Thanks to a $4,000 loan from his parents, the teen was able to purchase his bike from an online auction in Thorhild, Alta.
They then had the relic restored to its former glory.
Garratt says he has since managed to pay off the debt owed to his mom and dad.
Now that he’s fully permitted by the city and also insured, the Tie Dye Ice Cream Guy uses social media to announce his upcoming routes.
While the neighbourhood kids may reap some icy, sweet rewards from the 16-year-old’s entrepreneurial spirit, Garratt admits he gets a lot out of it too.
“It’s good exercise,” he said. “It’s a great job. I can’t think of a single better job that I would rather have.”
The young ice cream man says he plans to ramp up his services this summer, with the goal of earning enough money to buy himself a different ride.
“I’m going to get a car,” he said.
The teenaged entrepreneur says he’ll continue his ice cream business for “a couple of years” past high school with the hopes the venture will help fund another passion of his.
“During that time I’m going to be practicing making clothes, designing, sketching figures – until that’s good enough to sell to the point where I can slowly phase out the ice cream.”
Until then, his self-appointed job of neighbourhood ice cream man will just have to do.
“Why wouldn’t I want to be an ice cream man?” said Garratt. “It sounds great.”