“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.” The lyrics of the comic novelty song from the late 1920s still ring fondly in the ears of children and adults alike, and for the new owners of Moo Moo’s Ice Cream Truck, the popularity of their products is a built-in advantage that’s hard to […]
- Unparalleled business coverage of the Iowa City / Cedar Rapids corridor.
- Immediate access to subscriber-only content on our website.
- 26 issues per year delivered digitally, in print or both.
- Support locally owned and operated journalism.
“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.”
The lyrics of the comic novelty song from the late 1920s still ring fondly in the ears of children and adults alike, and for the new owners of Moo Moo’s Ice Cream Truck, the popularity of their products is a built-in advantage that’s hard to beat.
Moo Moo’s was founded by Jason and Sheila Happel at their home in Solon. After two seasons, when the couple decided they wanted to pass along their successful venture, a team of investors – half of them women – agreed to step in and buy the business.
The ownership transition was completed on April 30, and Moo Moo’s is now owned by three women – Shannon Moss, her daughter Emma and family friend Megan Cowherd – along with Shannon’s husband Kirby, their son Taylor, and Ms. Cowherd’s significant other, Trevor McLaughlin.
Taking over a business amid a COVID-impacted economic downturn might seem risky, but Shannon Moss said she felt the time was right to take the frozen treat plunge.
“(Jason and Sheila) really took the time to create a brand that was appealing and picked premium ice cream products,” Shannon said. “We work with five different dairies, and they’re all Iowa-based, supporting Iowa farmers. That’s one of the big things that attracted us to it, the care and attention to detail they had already put in for us to be able to take over and continue.”
Shannon and Kirby Moss are longtime entrepreneurs, and Shannon said they were interested in bringing their daughter and her friend into the business ownership realm.
“We’d been looking at business opportunities to bring the kids into, and we consider Megan and Trevor part of our family too,” she said. “We talked about this one for about six months, and the pandemic was kind of coming to an end, we hoped and thought, so we decided that would be a great time to go into business together and learn as we go.”
Moo Moo’s owns five ice cream trucks, covering routes as far north as Urbana and as far south as Riverside. The company also serves special events and business functions by appointment.
Regarding business ownership, Ms. Cowherd, a recent finance and marketing graduate from Wartburg College, said she learned a great deal from her relationship with the Moss family.
“Shannon has showed us how important it is to be a strong woman in business,” she said. “She’s done it her whole life. Emma and I have talked about how we look up to that, and she’s the one that really got us started and invested in wanting to do something like this because of how successful she’s been.”
For Emma Moss, a special education teacher in the Iowa City school district, the new venture offers a few challenges. “All this is new to me,” she said. “Like my mom said, I grew up watching them build their businesses. I’m just trying to take it all in and understand the business side of the world.”
Down the road, Shannon said Moo Moo’s is interested in expanding its territory and may even consider franchising. The possibilities, she said, are virtually endless.
“People love to treat their employees, and each other, to ice cream,” Shannon said. “It just makes everybody happy.”