West Seattle crowdfunding: Ready for the city’s ‘first 100% vegan ice-cream-sandwich’ truck?

May 28, 2014 at 11:02 am | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news | 30 Comments

Summertime is ice-cream-truck time. West Seattle residents Chelsea and Chris are hoping to hit the road this summer with what they say will be Seattle’s first 100 percent vegan ice-cream truck, specializing in vegan ice-cream sandwiches – if their crowdfunding campaign works out.

They’re calling their mobile enterprise the Cookie Counter, and it’s actually not a truck – it’s this blue 1974 VW Van:

The Sunrise Heights-area residents have taken to Kickstarter to look for funding, where they explain: “All of our ice creams are coconut based and we offer a variety of gluten-free options, meaning we automatically cater to dairy & egg allergies, along with wheat & gluten.” Flavor combinations in the works include Earl Grey with Lemon Zest, Orange Cardamom with Coconut Chocolate Chunk, Gluten Free White Chocolate with Mint, Green Tea with Raspberry, Gluten Free Coconut Lime with Mango. “Unlike other trucks offering vegan ice cream, we will have more than one or two options,” says Chelsea, adding that her background includes work as a personal vegan chef and as a waitperson/barista at Easy Street CafĂ© – plus volunteer work with kids: “I am passionate about kids and hope to get the truck involved in community events once we’re up and running!” Chris is a UW student, veteran (Marines), and dad (his 12-year-old son Mally is in the Kickstarter video). Their campaign has two and a half weeks to go.

30 Comments

  1. A novel idea for sure but seems like a small market for a drive around truck

    Comment by Clark5080 — 11:24 am May 28, 2014 #

  2. I support this idea! I mean, I don’t eat much iced cream, but it sounds cool! Plus they have a VW bus.

    Comment by area man — 11:29 am May 28, 2014 #

  3. Hi Clark5080! All of the details are on our Kickstarter. We will only be a drive around truck on Saturday nights and will be switching up the neighborhoods – with our followers being able to instantly know our location via Twitter. The rest of our time will be at permanent stationary locations: SLU, Georgetown, Ballard, and we’re still looking for a West Seattle business that might offer up a space in their parking lot 1-2 times/week. And we will of course be at festivals around the city!

    Comment by Chelsea — 11:39 am May 28, 2014 #

  4. How much will they cost? How many need to be sold daily to break even (not including labor)?

    Comment by Jim — 11:41 am May 28, 2014 #

  5. Good for you guys. Personally, I’ll be havin’ me some Husky Flake, but I do know there’s a market for this sort of thing. I will say, this seems very Portlandia :-)

    Comment by Curtis — 12:36 pm May 28, 2014 #

  6. Chelsea and Chris are amazing humans and I hope this totally take off for them!

    Comment by Pony — 12:51 pm May 28, 2014 #

  7. Curtis, I was thinking the same thing about Portlandia – funny! Regardless, I wish Chelsea and Chris the very best; they seem like cool people. Me, I’m one of those old-fashioned types who loves her gluten, dairy products, and boring conventional flavors. But I know many Seattleites have less-conventional ice cream preferences.

    Comment by Jeannie — 1:34 pm May 28, 2014 #

  8. Hi Jim! And hello other WSB’ers! We have all of our numbers in order and have done our business plan. We’d like to offer a large size as well as a smaller size so that we can be competitive with other ice cream trucks, which I’ve heard charge upwards of $3-$4 for name brand packaged treats.
    We really hope to have the support of our West Seattle community; we anticipate the hardest part will be getting people past any stigma surrounding non-dairy ice cream and encouraging them to just have a taste. We are doing this because we have yet to find a non-dairy ice cream in Seattle that we absolutely love. Images of the treats are not here on the WSB, but if you take a look at our Kickstarter or Facebook page you’ll be able to tell how creamy the ice cream is and that we truly make our treats thoughtfully and with love. And…while this is vegan, this is not intended to be a health food, we like real organic sugar. We’re in this to offer another fun summertime treat to all of Seattle – more options for ya!

    Comment by Chelsea - Cookie Counter — 1:48 pm May 28, 2014 #

  9. This looks fabulous! My son is Gluten/dairy free so his choices are normally limited for this kind of thing, I also try and stay away from Gluten and dairy. Will your Facebook page tell us where you are located weekly? (particularly in West Seattle) I don’t have Twitter. What is the name of your Facebook page?

    Comment by Sarah — 2:19 pm May 28, 2014 #

  10. Sarah – if you click Chelsea’s name alongside the comment, she has linked it to their FB page. (The Kickstarter page is linked from the blurb above, where we wrote “… taken to Kickstarter.”)

    Comment by WSB — 2:26 pm May 28, 2014 #

  11. Yes, the food allergy community is much larger than one would think and will also love the availability of vegan ice cream!

    Comment by Lindsay Y — 2:41 pm May 28, 2014 #

  12. This is the real deal! To non-vegans, the idea of vegan ice cream is always a little iffy, but I would wager, having had a test-sample of these sandwiches, most sweet-eaters (vegan or non-vegan) would be back for more! The ice cream is creamy and has none of sticky, gummy texture, or aftertaste of some of the vegan options I’ve tasted. Plus, you couldn’t ask for a nicer couple of folks behind the counter!

    Comment by Julia — 2:56 pm May 28, 2014 #

  13. Thanks WSB.

    Comment by Sarah — 6:07 pm May 28, 2014 #

  14. I am curious enough to try one. Good luck.

    Comment by I scream — 6:11 pm May 28, 2014 #

  15. I’m a West Seattle vegan and I am so excited! I contributed to the campaign as soon as I saw it. Good luck to you and I can’t wait for you guys to open!

    Comment by Lindsey — 8:40 pm May 28, 2014 #

  16. I’m soon excited for this!!!!

    Comment by WS mom of 4 — 8:42 pm May 28, 2014 #

  17. What a wonderful idea! I’ll be a loyal customer.

    Comment by Nancy Pennington — 8:59 pm May 28, 2014 #

  18. this is super awesome! I wish them the best of luck.

    Comment by fj — 9:00 pm May 28, 2014 #

  19. Portlandia.

    Comment by Wendell — 9:16 pm May 28, 2014 #

  20. Ok
    I do applaud what seems like a need & a new small business.
    I admit to being annoyed at this being called ice cream.
    If it is non-dairy, it’s not made with cream.
    It is a treat, for sure.

    Comment by Yma — 9:41 pm May 28, 2014 #

  21. Yum! I’m not vegan, but all of the coconut-based vegan ice creams I’ve tried have been delicious. Will definitely support you!

    Comment by m — 9:43 pm May 28, 2014 #

  22. Awesome idea! I would definitely try some.

    Comment by cj — 9:46 pm May 28, 2014 #

  23. This is wonderful news. Excited to have more vegan friendly food and dessert options in West Seattle. We will be customers.

    Comment by Lotte — 10:27 pm May 28, 2014 #

  24. Awesome! Wish we had a parking lot to offer for this, but we do have 2 hour parking right outside our business,a natural tie-in, children’s leather-free sandals, shoes, and boots; Kid Friendly Footwear at Again & Again consignment: new & useful things for baby, kid & maternity on California Ave. SW just South of the Alaska junction. We cd make beautiful music together! Excited for this to happen, yum!

    Comment by Sarah — 11:11 pm May 28, 2014 #

  25. Hi there everyone! Thanks again for your support, we really appreciate it.

    Yma – I just wanted to respond to your comment by saying that we totally understand where you’re coming from! Technically speaking, the FDA requires that for a product to be LABELED as ice cream it has to have a certain amount of milk fat. As a vegan, it’s just too much of a mouthful to say “Oh I’d love a non-dairy frozen dessert sandwich!” Just easier to call it ice cream.

    We talk a little more about the specifics and laws about this on our Kickstarter page. Our labels will be required to say “non-dairy frozen dessert.”

    It is made with coconut milk and coconut cream and we aren’t trying to hide that. We sure hope that you’ll try it…we know you’ll love it!

    Comment by Chelsea - Cookie Counter — 12:03 am May 29, 2014 #

  26. WOOHOO! I am one of MANY vegans who live in WS and can’t wait to support this business! Seattle has a large vegan population all over the city and we tend to support vegan businesses so I’m sure you will do well if we know where you are going to be. Also…there are some vegan food trucks that travel around the city…Plumb Bistro has one. You might consider hanging out in the areas they are going to be since you will have some of the same customers and PB doesn’t offer ice cream (only a shake). Just a thought and good luck.

    Comment by Jennifer — 7:43 am May 29, 2014 #

  27. I have not looked at the Kickstarter yet, but am curious – will your van play traditional “Ice Cream truck music” – or any other music when driving around neighborhoods? (Please don’t play “Turkey in the Straw”….)

    Comment by Shaggy — 1:39 pm May 29, 2014 #

  28. Cream? Thought it was non-dairy?? You should play weird Al for the music!!!!!

    Comment by Coffee anyone? — 1:48 pm May 29, 2014 #

  29. *Hi Shaggy – Ohhhh yeah…we are definitely NOT into that song.

    We have such nostalgia for traditional ice cream music, but would love to find a way to play “ice cream truck” versions of contemporary songs. Chris is an audio engineer so this might be do-able. We still have to do more research into Copyright stuff though.

    *And hi there Coffee anyone? – If you look just a few comments above yours we address the “cream” issue – please take a look :)

    And – we LOVE Weird Al. Totally played him at our wedding. So, we’ll make a note of that…

    Comment by Chelsea - Cookie Counter — 3:08 pm May 29, 2014 #

  30. I am excited to hear these local people are starting this adventure. I am happy to help fund their projects to see how awesome this becomes. I’m not vegan but I do enjoy all foods. Good luck!

    Comment by nizzle — 10:02 am May 30, 2014 #

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