Some little boys love army tanks or fire engines.
For Nathan McEwen, it was always ice cream trucks that captured his imagination.
Being one of eight kids growing up in his Washington family, he rarely got to stand in line at the cheerfully decorated truck that cruised his neighborhood, selling all kinds of delicious treats on a summer's day.
And his love for ice cream trucks never melted away, even in his grown-up life as a Missoula real estate agent, husband and father.
So when the recession brought his industry to a near standstill, McEwen fired up a long-held dream to own and operate his very own ice cream truck.
This week, his dream rolls through town - thanks in large part to a business loan from the Montana Community Development Corp. - and will continue to do so all spring and summer, and as long there's warm weather, into early fall.
His new business, encouraged by his wife, Shannon, and the couple's 3-year-old son, Joey, is called Captain Hook's. The name of this new enterprise honors the notorious character in the children's story "Peter Pan," and also the fact that it is McEwen's nickname, given to him by friends because of his prosthetic arm.
Because of his own childhood experience, McEwen said he's carefully priced his products to fit all budgets.
"All kids should have an opportunity to be able to get something at an ice cream truck," he said. "The most expensive thing I sell is $3.25 and the least expensive thing is two Otter Pops for 25 cents."
The little truck has a big inventory, selling everything from Ben & Jerry's products, to low-fat Skinny Cow products, to sugar-free fudge bars and old-fashioned ice cream sandwiches.
"We want to have something for everybody," McEwen said. "And we are open for suggestions."
Photo by lilivanili