We had the good fortune of connecting with Darrel Stice and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Darrel, what’s the most important thing you’ve done for your children?
I have two sons and I’ve always wanted to teach them the value of hard work and of working for what you want. My parents taught my brother and me from a very early age that we could achieve or attain whatever we wanted in life, but we would have to work for it. I have always tried to impart that same way of thinking on my boys and both have proven to be very hard workers who don’t expect anything to be handed to them.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As I mentioned before, I was taught from a young age that it takes hard work to get where you want to be in life, having worked in my parents’ store and with my dad laying carpet starting when I was about 10. I never felt forced to work or like I was missing out on anything the other kids were doing. I only remember enjoying having my own money and being very proud that I was able to buy things I wanted like baseball cards or a new CD player. I never asked my parents to buy me anything, and as an adult I have come to realize that I was such an amazing lesson.
While I was never afraid of working, I decided after taking a few years off of college after my sophomore year that I wanted a career in education. I chose to become a math teacher and went back to college to finish my degree. I taught middle school and high school math for 23 years, and I am extremely proud that I had the opportunity to touch thousands of lives over those years. A large portion of those years were in a school district with high poverty and highly challenging kids. These were very difficult years as a teacher, yet they are the part of my teaching career I am most proud of. I really felt like I made a difference in the lives of so many students, but not because I taught them math. It was because of the relationships I build them them. I was always a good math teacher, but my ability to build relationships with the kids was my real talent and something I will always treasure from my years as an educator.
As education changed over the years (especially in the face of the pandemic), I started to consider other options for supporting my family. My wife and I tossed around different ideas that included working in real estate, finance, handyman work, and opening our own business. The food truck idea had been considered a few years ago when a good friend started The Snowy Churro in Colorado. He’d asked me to partner with him, but we just weren’t ready to take that kind of leap. However, over the last year everything seemed to be pointing us in that direction, so we decided to give it a shot and go all in. We bought the food truck in February and I worked on getting it off the ground while finishing the school year. It was extremely challenging as the events for the truck started landing on the schedule while I was still trying to be a dedicated teacher, but it was obvious that the truck had a lot of potential. Once the school year ended, I went full steam ahead and booked our first two months completely full within weeks.
Since our business is so new, I can’t really say that I have learned a lot of lessons or that I have any real wisdom to share, but I will say that everything I’ve ever heard about owning your own business is proving to be true. You’re never off the clock, it takes a LOT of work, and there is no one to save you. However, there are also no limits, I am in control of my own destiny, and I still get to build positive relationships with people. The difference is that now I get to put smiles on their faces because I am serving them fun and delicious treats.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Having only lived in the Phoenix area for a year, I’m not sure I could plan a full week of fun for my best friend. However, we would get online and find some great places to eat, fish, and hike, We’d also definitely catch a baseball, basketball, or football game.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family, starting with my wife Mary Ann and including my boys, my mom, my brother, and my cousins. They have all been extremely supportive and helpful in so many ways, from lending a hand on the truck to making our cookie dough to helping us with advertising and finding events. They have been truly amazing.