When Carla Whitley, a single mom of four, first started her ice cream truck business venture — Sweet Caroline’s Mobile Ice Cream Shoppe — this Spring — she had hoped to bring a new option to Franklin while healing from her own trauma. She never imagined how the business would take off and how well-received both her family and the ice cream truck would be by the community.
“Never did I expect to not only find a way to provide for my family on my own again, take great joy from it AND be literally a vehicle of hope and love to so many right here in our backyard,” said Whitley. “It still blows my mind that this is my new reality.”
As the dog days of summer are coming to an end, Whitley stated that she has been nonstop this summer and hopes to keep the momentum moving forward throughout the year.
“I cannot put into words how incredible this summer has been for not only my business but for me personally,” said Whitley. “I felt like I was taking a big risk with our last article, unsure how the community would take to my openness. Let me just say, it didn’t take more than a minute to feel the outpouring of love, kindness, support, and acceptance.”
While she first began serving the Macon County area, her business quickly took off and she would find herself getting more and more calls to travel outside of the county. That is when she knew it was time to expand.
“I had so many requests to go out of county and we all know Maggie is a pretty old gal but she’s also an old pretty gal and can’t go that far! I took a leap of faith and found my newest addition, Sonny,” said Whitley. “She’s a bit newer and stronger and has allowed me to expand to Jackson, Swain, and Haywood counties!”
Whitley wants Sweet Caroline’s Mobile Ice Cream Shoppe to continue to grow, and be more than just a summer staple, so she has some big ideas for the Fall.
“I have a few ideas that I would love the communities input on! I will continue to sell ice cream year-round but hope to add some Fall cozy favorites to add to your fireplace or bonfire nights,” said Whitley. “I am tossing ideas around for fun campfire essentials like prepackaged s’mores kits, coffee and hot cocoa bars, warm stadium pretzels, and maybe some other favorites like hot apple cider and popcorn! Anything to bring cozy, confit, and cute to anything from your quaint family night to major gatherings and weddings.”
From providing treats to school staff, to surprising businesses and community groups with a visit from the ice cream truck, Whitley said the community support has been tremendous.
“I want to thank my Franklin friends, businesses, and neighbors for allowing me the privilege to call this place home and feel like I belong,” said Whitley. “Thank you for jumping in to sponsor worthy causes and flood my inbox with ways you want to use my business to give back. You all fill my heart and have been an invaluable lift to my soul.”