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By Michael Abramson
Special to The Alamanac
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or in this case, when a rough economy makes finding a job impossible, buy an old truck, give it a colorful paint job, and sell ice cream from it. That's what Atherton brothers Joe and Pete Foster did this past summer.
Joe, a 19-year-old Menlo High School grad and a sophomore at Vanderbilt, and Pete, a 16-year-old junior at Menlo High School, decided to start the Foster Brothers Ice Cream Truck business after other job opportunities failed to materialize.
"It was kind of like a crazy idea at first, but we looked at trucks more and more and it just kind of became, 'we can actually do this,'" Joe said.
The brothers started by purchasing a beat-up old ice cream truck and turning it into a drivable, sleek-looking one. While the truck did not always run perfectly -- it was not highway-safe and locking the truck was difficult -- a new paint job and some new wheels and rims certainly made it catch the eye.
They created a cool-look logo, with the message: "Serving the Peninsula since 2010."
Unfortunately, the brothers suffered a setback in July when their truck was broadsided by a van running a red light in Menlo Park. They were out of business for several weeks.
Recently they posted on their website that the truck is repaired and they "look forward to serving you next summer."
Before the accident, business was good, they said. Offering 14 ice cream flavors at prices ranging from $1 to $3, they did well on the street but even better at events, from birthday parties for a dozen people to corporate picnics for thousands.
Besides ice cream, the brothers sold T-shirts out of the truck with their name and logo for $17 each.
Overall, the job has been educational, they said.
"It puts into perspective that the more you work, the more you make," Joe said.
Learning that lesson was the best part of the job, Pete observed.
"That and all the ice cream we get to eat," Joe added.
To go to their website, click here.