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Wednesday
Sep032008

Batter Chatter: Interview with Kim Ima of The Treats Truck

Treats Truck

Hands down, the Treats Truck is one of our favorite baked good innovations in recent years: an NYC-based "retail mobile bakery" run out of an environmentally-friendly silver truck called Sugar which brings sweetness to whatever corner she should be parked on that day (if you're in NYC, you can find their schedule here). But it's not just a cool concept--with homey treats ranging from serious brownies and cookie sandwiches to dainty "dot" sugar cookies to the of-the-moment cupcakes baked in ice cream cones, it's a seriously delicious business model as well. We were lucky enough to catch owner Kim Ima in one place long enough to engage in some sweet talk--here's what we learned:

Treats Truck
Cakespy: Which came first: the treats or the truck?
Kim Ima: The treats! I was obsessed with making treats, but as soon as I thought up the idea of the Treats Truck, that was it. I was instantly in love.

CS: What was the first baked good you ever sold on the truck?
KI: Hmmm, I know I had frosted Sugar dots (picture below), Chocolate chippers, oatmeal cookies and brownies on the truck that first day. I don't remember what was the very first cookie sold off of the truck. Aw, I wish I remembered!


Treats from the Treats Truck
CS: Does the treats truck play music to attract customers? If so, what kind of music? Or, if not, what music do you listen to inside of the truck?
KI: The truck does not play music. Most of the time, the streets provide the background soundtrack for the day. Oh, occasionally I park near a guy who plays the keyboard and sings Frank Sinatra.

CS: Please finish this thought for us: An ice cream truck pulls up next to the Treats Truck at a red light, and revs its engine. What happens when the light turns green?
KI: I nod at the driver, we lock eyes in a meaningful way, he looks my truck up and down, nods back, shrugs and speeds away. A note, "speeds away" for an ice cream truck is probably going 25 miles an hour.

Cakespy Note: We just know that Ice Cream Man's quaking like Jell-o in his boots.

CS: Do you think that one day the cultural icon of the ice cream truck may be unsettled by the concept of a treats truck?
KI: I think we'll have both. Don't you think?

CS: (Nods Gravely) Yes.

Inside Vanilla Conecake
(photo of Treats Truck cone cupcakes c/o flickr user nycblondieandbrownie)

CS: Your ice cream cone cupcakes have been getting a lot of interest lately. Why do you think they're so popular?
KI: Well, they make people smile! I know I love them because they are yummy and fun and have lots of icing and sprinkles. A cupcake in a cone? It is a special treat, no two ways about it.

Kim of the Treats Truck
CS: Not only are you the proprietress of Treats Truck, but you're also an actress and artist. This begs the question--how do you do it all?
KI: Well, there are only so many hours in the day, but the idea is that there will be many days ahead. Right now, I am working full time running the Treats Truck. In the earlier stages of the business, I did both. In the future, I will be able to return to working on projects in the theater. Right now, the treats need my full attention, and I love it.

Treats from the Truck!
CS: You reference the "kitchen sink" crispy and cookie on your list of favorite treats. We've never had kitchen sink cookies. Can you explain the "kitchen sink" aspect to us?
KI: "Kitchen sink" to me means you can put lots of crazy ingredients together. In a way, it is the idea of opening your cupboard and seeing what you can throw in. If I feature a "kitchen sink" crispy or cookie, I may put a mix of candy, pretzels and cereal in the mix. The next time it could change. It is a license to play.

CS: Are some baked goods more popular in some neighborhoods than others?
KI: Yes, as a matter of fact! Some neighborhoods love anything with peanut butter (especially midtown) and one neighborhood in Brooklyn really goes for crispy squares with whole wheat cereal and fruit in it and anything with jam. I bake more of certain items depending on where I'm going. It's fun to try out new specials on the different neighborhoods and see who is especially into them.

Treats Truck
CS: What's next for The Treats Truck?
KI: I would love to have two trucks with regular street schedules by the spring, as well as appearances at special events, and I would like to open a store in the next year or two.


Are you in NYC? Check out their schedule here and start being a Treats Truck groupie today! Not in NYC? Admire them from afar (and coming soon, buy a t-shirt!) at treatstruck.com.


Reader Comments (28)

OMG that place is so freakin cute. It makes me want to squeal.

How can I get a job working in the treats truck? This is seriously one of my all time favourite retail innovations.

I wonder if this is legal in Canada? I just may have to steal this concept.

September 3 | Unregistered CommenterDana McCauley

I just showed my son this post...."look Evan a truck that brings treats". It's in NY I told him....his reply "Let's move!".

September 3 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Oh my goodness sheer heaven, a treats truck, this is excellent!! Wish one would come down my avenue ;)

Rosie x

September 3 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

That cupcake cone looks delicious. . I tried to make them once and mine didn't turn out so "pretty". They overflowed or didn't rise enough. LOVE your site. . .it's ADORABLE!

What a fun business!

September 4 | Unregistered CommenterVeggieGirl

Thanks for the link to the Treats Truck website. We have been on a wild goose chase looking for this truck every time we drive in to the city ( we live in upstate NY). This really makes my day!

September 4 | Unregistered CommenterMaya

It should be a legal requirement that every metropolitan city has a Treats Truck. A LAW I TELL YOU!

September 4 | Unregistered CommenterEB

What a fun idea!

September 4 | Unregistered Commentereatme_delicious

genius~

when i am back in new york for a visit~ this will be on my to do list!

September 4 | Unregistered Commenterbonnie

what a terrific idea! i'd sail right past the ice cream truck and make a beeline for the treats truck, no doubt about it. :)

September 4 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

Great post and interview. I can see why the cupcake in a cone is so popular. I wonder if the Treats Truck is ever mistaken for an armored car.

September 4 | Unregistered CommenterJeanna

wonderful interview !!! I am so needing a sweet treat now...

September 4 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Evans

I stumbled across the Treat Truck one day in the city and fell in love with it. I think there should be more of them!

September 4 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

This is SO much cooler than the silly old ice cream truck!

September 4 | Unregistered CommenterRural Vegan

What a cool idea. I just had a chat with our Ice Cream Man the other day (who was strange... they're always a little strange, aren't they??)

Hey, I'm going up to visit my sister in October sometime and plan to check out a few of the places you've mentioned on your blog from time to time (she lives in Tacoma). Where can I find you? Do you have a booth at a Farmer's Market somewhere or a shop? I'd love to say HI!

September 4 | Unregistered CommenterRecipeGirl

I would love to see their business plan. Such a great idea and so many possibilities - fabulous.

September 4 | Unregistered Commentergiz

That's one sweet ride! Wish it came around my neighborhood.

And, I guess you heard… cuppies coming to my house! YAY!!!

September 4 | Unregistered CommenterBakerella

I just wanted to let you know that I have your website listed as a recommended read on my food blog. If that is problem, please let me know and I will remove it.

Thanks Liz

http://whatstoeatbaltimore.blogspot.com/

September 5 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

great interview. wish our ice cream truck were a treats truck .....

September 5 | Unregistered CommenterJane

The only thing I can imagine better than a Treats Truck would be a delivery service that arrived at your front door when you were most in need. Imagine: your crappy day ends when a horn honks "beep-beep" and you run downstairs to meet the truck parked at the curb, and a lady hands you a batch of cookies out the take-out window before waving and heading to the next person in need of a pick-me-up.

September 5 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

What a great idea! I always thought that I wouldn't want to work in food, but I would totally want to do this!

September 5 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

wow this is my dream come true. Delivering nice sweeties to the public by a nice truck . perhaps painted pink :-)

September 5 | Unregistered CommenterSnooky doodle

wow this is my dream come true. Delivering nice sweeties to the public by a nice truck . perhaps painted pink :-)

September 5 | Unregistered CommenterSnooky doodle

This is so neat! We actually had a doughnut man in our neighborhood where I grew up. He drove a white VW bus and I remember the chocolate ones and the vanilla frosted ones with sprinkles! We didn't have an ice cream man, but this was totally better and I recall him being quite a nice gentleman too!

September 5 | Unregistered Commenteramy purple

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