Antigonish teen opens ice cream trailer powered by the sun
Happy Cones is owned and operated by Nicky Nicholson, a Grade 10 student
A high school student in Antigonish, N.S., has opened a new ice cream trailer that is entirely powered by the sun.
"I feel really good about it, and it's definitely very empowering, especially since this is the first ice cream trailer with solar power," Nicky Nicholson told CBC's Information Morning on Monday.
Nicholson, 15, is the owner of Happy Cones, the new mobile ice cream shop which is usually found in the parking lot of the Antigonish Mall.
The teen developed the idea a couple years ago when she participated in a young entrepreneur program called Girls Mean Business at St. Francis Xavier University.
Her business plan was put into motion earlier this year when her family purchased a small aluminum trailer and storage freezer that can hold 16 tubs of ice cream.
Inside the trailer, they constructed a service counter with storage that houses a sink, the water supply, a small water pump and a water heater.
Four solar panels on the roof connected to a generator collect enough energy to power the freezer full of ice cream.
The trailer opened in early July and has been operating daily, with the help of another student employee. The trailer is typically parked at the mall but also visits parks, playgrounds and local events.
Nicholson said since opening, the mobile ice cream shop sees about 50-60 customers a day.
"I expected a little less, to be honest, because we're just starting out, but I think it's a good amount for just starting out," she said.
She said the customers are usually "shocked" when they learn the business is fully solar powered.
"They're really excited about the whole idea," she said.
"And it's new to them … we try to educate people as much as we can about how good it is for the environment [using] clean energy."
Nicholson said she plans to keep the business open for the summer, until she has to go back to school to start Grade 10 in September.
She said her business wouldn't have been possible without the help of her father, Peter Nicholson, and a number of sponsors.
"We're so happy to see young entrepreneurs thinking green and keeping community sustainability top of mind," Mayor Laurie Boucher said in a news release about the new business.
"Happy Cones has shown how the great benefits of solar power can be used in creative ways and is a model for all of us to consider using solar to reduce our carbon footprint."
Nicholson said she hopes to continue working as a young entrepreneur and possibly start more businesses in the future.
"This is just the start — my own business and solar power."
With files from Katie Hartai