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Ice cream smiles

The Pilot / Lorna Rodriguez WIth no ice cream truck in Brookings, TJ and Haven WIse step in to fill the void with Lickety-Split Ice Cream and Candy.
The Pilot / Lorna Rodriguez WIth no ice cream truck in Brookings, TJ and Haven WIse step in to fill the void with Lickety-Split Ice Cream and Candy.
An old-school hot-rod van decorated with red flames and black and white checkers, playing “traditional ice cream truck lullabies,” can be seen most afternoons driving through Brookings-Harbor neighborhoods. 

The vehicle evokes nostalgia in some, excitement in others, and smiles for all who delight in the ice cream cones, candy bars or cans of soda offered by TJ and Haven Wise, father-and-son owners of Lickity-Split Ice Cream and Candy.

“It kind of brings back a little bit of fun to a small town,” said TJ Wise. 

On dry days, the truck is in front of Azalea Middle School for a while after school lets out at 3 p.m., and then drives through Brookings-Harbor neighborhoods until dark. The route usually takes about two-and-a-half hours. 

Haven, 15, helps his father run the business. Everyday after school, Haven is busy handing out products and counting money.

“It’s really fun, especially seeing the kids smile when  you give them the ice cream,” Haven said. “That’s probably the best part.”

TJ wanted to teach his son the basic steps of starting, owning and running a business. He felt it was important to make him a co-owner so he would understand the value of the truck and wants him to understand the banking and marketing portions of it as well. 

The two thought of opening Lickity-Split because there isn’t really an ice cream truck in Brookings, and they came from an area (Sacramento) where there were plenty.

“Seeing a void and trying to fill it,” TJ said. “It morphed into a hot-rod theme. We’re into classic cars and thought to put our passion for the hobby into something.”

Lickity-Split opened in late September.

In addition to selling sugary treats, 12 advertising spaces on the exterior of the vehicle are available. The spaces sell for $30 a month. All of slots are currently filled.

TJ said the idea has been a hit “just because it’s different.

“It’s not flamboyant and in your face — and different sells.”

Businesses such as DoLittle Cafe, Peek-A-Boo Cottage and Dr. D Autocare have all purchased space. 

When the Wises aren’t busy driving around town, Lickity-Split can be found at events such as Brookings-Harbor varsity football, soccer and baseball games. The business partners also have been invited by the Veteran of Foreign Wars to sell goods at the Fourth of July festivities in Harbor. 

Wherever they are, Lickity-Split always wants to have fun.

“We do that every time we take the truck out,” he said. “The most, rewarding thing is giving ice cream away to people who don’t expect it. It doesn’t matter how old you are. Ice cream puts a smile on people’s faces.”

TJ recalled how happy a gentleman mowing his lawn was to receive ice cream, and how surprised two parents were when TJ handed them ice cream after they’d bought some for their children.

“Adults like ice cream, too,” TJ said. 

And if one child is with a group of friends and is unable to afford an ice cream, the Wises hand one over for free. 

“That’s just the right thing to do,” TJ said. 

Lickity-Split has only been open a few months, but business is going well, TJ said.

“As a new business there are lots of ups and downs,” he said. “Our business pretty much requires a dry day. This time of year we knew we’d have lows.”

On its biggest day, the business made just shy of $300 in six hours, but on a slow afternoon it only makes $25 (a candy bar sells for $1.) 

“It’s literally one day to the next,” TJ said.

Lickity-Split isn’t just about selling ice cream and candy bars; TJ and Haven try to teach youth to be safe when purchasing treats. TJ said children are taught to look for cars, and to not just take off running without looking, and to count their change instead of just handing a bunch of money over when buying something.

In the future, the Wises may consider traveling out of the area for larger events, and adding two retro bicycles to the truck. 

“I just envision it being fun with a bling bling horn … and you know what that sound is, and so maybe you step out and buy an ice cream,” TJ said. 

And if all goes well, TJ would love to expand to Gold Beach and add a couple of part-time employees. 

 But for now, they will stick to Brookings-Harbor neighborhoods. 

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