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Ice cream truck driver new to city

Amanda Vaughan
Northern News Services
Wednesday, August 1, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - There's something simply delightful about the sound of a slow moving truck playing a cheerful, well-worn tune on a fuzzy loudspeaker.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Tamer Akbulut offers up a lemon-lime slush from the window of his ice cream truck. - Amanda Vaughan/NNSL photo

Tamer Akbulut, who goes by Tim, is happy to be making his living bringing a magical phrase to the lips of Yellowknife children - "Ice cream truck!"

This is Akbulut's first season in Yellowknife, and also his first at the helm of an ice cream business, though he did drive a truck for another man in Toronto for a couple summers.

"I tried many jobs - selling vegetables, a couple of seasons in the oil fields," he said, also mentioning that he tried working in a factory as well.

"It was too boring for me," he laughed.

Akbulut purchased the truck from his previous boss, and drove it up to the NWT to try out the business here.

When Yellowknifer asked him if he likes the job last Sunday, he told a story that painted the picture perfectly.

"This evening we went out to the beach at Long Lake, and after we made all the sales, we turned off the truck and went for a swim, and played a bit of beach volleyball with some guys," he said.

He added sometimes his girlfriend rides in the truck with him.

"When we turned the truck back on, there was another line up right away."

He said running the business himself has been a learning experience, with the occasional obstacle.

Akbulut, who is also a new Canadian, didn't realize he needed a business license to run the truck, and by-law caught up with him pretty quick.

"I didn't know all of the procedures," he shrugged, but said applying for the license was easy, and in two weeks, he was back on the road.

The truck doesn't sell pre-made ice cream bars, Akbulut said they are more difficult to get supplied in Yellowknife, as they need to stay frozen in transit and in storage.

"I get vanilla and chocolate mixes, and the cans of topping," Akbulut said, adding from there imagination is the only limit. He sells flavoured slushes, milkshakes, sundaes and ice cream cones with a wide variety of dips, toppings and added flavors - all of which are popular.

"The kids like sprinkles," said Akbulut.

He said the neighbourhood that never fails to bring a line-up of kids is Sisson's Court.

According to Akbulut, the other hot spots include Bigelow Court, Ndilo and when school's in, the schools in the downtown area. But he said that when the temperature is above 20C, the sales are usually good anywhere.

After selling at Folk on the Rocks, Akbulut said he drove the truck to Behchoko during the Dene National Assembly, and was happy with how sales went there as well.

"It was very interesting," Akbulut said about the trip, and added he is now very interested in finding other festivals and gatherings in the territory that he can drive to.

Akbulut said thinks he will stay in Yellowknife for a while. He arrived in the North last winter, and drove a taxi for Diamond Cabs for a few months before starting up the truck, and figures he will do that again this winter.

"After I take a break, of course," he said.