For Jackson and Max Ward business is hot

DeWayne Bartels
Young ice cream moguls Jackson Ward, left, and brother, Max, pedal their way around Metamora selling ice cream. Customers get a taste of something cool. The boys are getting a taste of the world of business. They will be working at Old Settler’s Days.

Jackson and Max Ward have been busy helping Metamora residents beat the heat since they got out of school.

Jackson, 14, and his brother, Max, 12, have taken to the streets selling ice cream off their bike — yes, a bike.

Their office is a bike, complete with an umbrella and a four section freezer to carry frozen treats.

Business is hot

While the Ward brothers have been successful helping Metamora residents beat the heat, it has not been a cool experience for either one of them.

They live a mile out of town and have to pedal the bike full of ice cream that distance into town and then pedal around town selling their wares.

On June 7, as the temperature hovered around 95 the brothers set up shop near the Metamora Pool. The bright umbrella and the sight of a bike as a portable ice cream shop got a lot of stares and some customers.

“We have competition from the ice cream man who comes around in a van once in a while,” Jackson said.

Despite that market force to contend with Jackson said business is not bad.

“We come out as often as we can. This is our second week. We made good money in our first week,” Jackson said.

Proud parents

Amy, the boy’s mother, said this business venture was her idea.

She and her husband, Pat, agreed their boys needed to have a job. But, what?

Then Amy recalled seeing a boy she knew a few years earlier doing this exact job.

She inquired about the bike.

It had been sold. Amy tracked down the new owner. They were willing to sell and her sons were on their way to business.

“Our society has gone so digital. The boys would sit at the computer or computer game consoles or in front of the TV. Getting them outside was getting harder and harder,” Amy said.

“That’s why I wanted them to have something to do. They were very excited about it initially.”

Then reality set in.

“They were nervous,” Amy said. “‘How do we do it?’ they asked.”

Amy said the boys got together with the boy who used to use the bike and got pointers. They then set out.

“They are fantastic boys. We are so proud of them,” Amy said.

“It’s a learning experience for them. We want them to learn that nothing is free — that mom and dad work for the money we have. That is the most important thing. We want them to learn responsibility.”

Hard work

Both boys said this is not what they expected of work.

“It’s a little tougher than I expected, but it’s what you have to do to make money,” Jackson said. “This is part-time for the summer.”

Max smiled and said this is not going to be his life’s work, either.     

“It’s alright. That ride into town is a little rough though,” Max said.

Over their first weekend the boys learned a lesson about inventory control. They ran out of product before they ran out of customers.

A call to their mother took care of the situation. A large freezer at home holds the products from Prairie Farm they sell under contract.  

Mom showed up with more ice cream in the family vehicle and business was back on.

And, just what do the boys plan to do with their money?

“First, we have to pay back mom and dad. Then, we’re not sure what we want to do with our profits, maybe save up for college,” Jackson said.