What seemed like the end for a local ice cream truck owner’s business suddenly blossomed into a new adventure for one of his workers who decided to take over.
Dennis Roeper, the previous owner of Keizer Ice Cream, started the business after going to get his daughter ice cream and noticing the conditions of an ice cream truck in his community.
“I was horrified by what I found. I was stunned,” he said. “I found a dirty, broken down minivan with a hideous environment, really broken product and a bad environment for children.”
Roeper started looking at ice cream trucks on Craigslist and the next day he went into work to quit his corporate job. His boss wrote him a check and Roeper left on his way to take over Keizer Ice Cream.
The income Roeper received from the business was not as much as he received while working at his old job, however he felt happier.
“I grew as a person and was able to spend more time with my kids,” Roeper said. “It was a new life and what I received was far more than I gave up.”
In 2015, Roeper met Richard Vasquez who was looking for a job. Similar to why Roeper started the business, Vasquez was excited about being able to schedule his own hours and to be able to be there for his family more.
“I wanted to be there for my kids and I wanted to show them that you can do what you want to do,” Vasquez said. “You can prosper in life without the demand of the life on your back.”
Right away, Roeper was impressed by Vasquez’s work ethic and integrity.
“The thing about him that grabbed me the most is that he wasn’t full of excuses,” Roeper said. “He would tell you what it was and then he would let you do what you had to do.”
Along with a better and cleaner environment for Keizer Ice Cream, Roeper and Vasquez focused on supporting the community in any way they could. They have gone to fundraisers, community events, donated to the Boys and Girls Club, and have brought ice cream to firefighters in the past.
“We’ve been a part of the community for a long time and we’ve always had a pretty good response from most of Keizer,” Roeper said. “Keizer’s been a welcoming partner.”
About a year or two ago, Roeper mentioned to Vasquez that he was thinking of quitting. Vasquez immediately said that he wanted to take over and keep the business going.
“It was a big jump for me because I don’t come from money. I don’t come from much,” he said. “It’s time for me to make my legacy and that’s what I’m doing. I’m making something that I can say, ‘Hey kids, look, we did this.’ And we did it together.”
Roeper expects that Vasquez will make changes to the business and is excited to see Vasquez take over.
“I’m stepping away and he’s stepping in,” Roeper said. “And in my goodwill of doing so, he’s coming forward and continuing on with some of the good stuff we have but with the energy and desire to make it more, or different, than what I had”