Yummmm Sweets ownership learned on the fly about launching business during Covid-19 – Buffalo Business First – The Business Journals

During the peak of the pandemic, many people were in dire need of two things: a shower and a tasty snack.
That was an advantage for Melissa Mastantuono, a Lewiston resident whose Yummmm Sweets & Treats Snack Truck is nearing its first anniversary. The truck with the self-explanatory name launched in May 2021, with Melissa and husband Phil decking out an orange Volkswagen bus and fitting it to equip locals with every sugar high-inducing indulgence from Airheads to vanilla ice cream.
The truck ended 2021 having served at more than four dozen events. She expects bigger things now that the 2022 service season is rolling out, with several accoutrements debuting this summer to help maximize business. The couple is juggling that with full-time work (she does health care marketing outreach, and they own the Mastantuono Agency) and raising two children, Salvatore and Winifred.
Following is an edited Q&A with Mastantuono on how a food truck might be able to enjoy the taste of success.
So many different factors contributed to starting our food truck:. It’s a dream to own my own business. A milestone birthday of 40. Motivation during a health recovery to keep focus and heal (she had a craniotomy after experiencing a spontaneous brain bleed). Taking something that I love and enjoy, and bringing it to others to make smiles.
We love a party and celebration.
We specifically wanted a mobile truck rather than brick and mortar because it worked for our budget and product we wanted to bring consumers. Plus we think it’s a “wow factor,” and we found a really cool truck we thought people would like.
Supply. Finding the ice cream novelties or candy our consumers wanted and/or learning how to substitute different products.
Our first season, I went in knowing there will be mistakes and would have to take everything as a learning experience. We said yes to everything, and if it didn’t work we learned from it and hoped to make a connection that led to a positive for the business. Even if it was a small opportunity to be at a local flea market or a cat rescue fundraiser, we learned from it — made a small venue into a positive. We met community members that may have been a connection to the next booking or a new opportunity.  I don’t want to say it was the wrong choice, but sometimes we would book events back to back to back in different towns/counties, and this could be exhausting, especially at the end of a season.
Which leads to: Take a day off. While starting a new business requires that a lot of time and energy be invested, a day off a few times during the season is a must. You have to be able to recharge to keep going.
When you hear it takes a village, that’s true. We are grateful to family, friends and our community to help us make connections. Referrals from customers and social media help. Also, Business First’s story last year led to a spotlight on “Most Buffalo.”
We hope in two years the Yummmm Truck is a familiar name for Western New Yorkers. Continued growth. We hope to make relationships with schools and local businesses. We already have added a few new rental features for 2022: the Yummm Ice Cream Cart and the Yummmm VW Counter for events, which will debut this May.
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