MISSOULA — During the most challenging moments of the pandemic, it's been the little things that have kept our spirits up.
For one family, ice cream was the answer, but what started as a simple, end-of-the-day treat has now morphed into a business - and aside from the cones and sprinkles, that business has a lot of heart too.
This family’s story all began in the thick of the pandemic. Cody Wagner had been an herbalist, and Mason Wagner, the founder of a local theater company. Last January, the duo earned a new title: Mom and Dad to their son Llewyn. This was a job unto itself.
“We kept it really close to home. We both stopped working,” said Cody. Her husband Mason added, “Llewyn had some health issues. We were in and out of the hospital a lot. So, he's great now, as you can see, but it was a really challenging first year of life, you know COVID, and other factors added on top of COVID.”
Like most families, the Wagners relied on the little things to keep them going during the pandemic.
“I think all of COVID we ate ice cream, pretty much every night, just as a little bit of happiness at the end of the day,” said Mason.
Amid the copious cones of ice cream consumed by the Wagners, Mason got a wild idea.
“I was just thinking like, where's the soft serve, you know, we should do soft serve because it just seemed like a natural opening in Missoula, so I came downstairs after putting Llewyn to sleep, and said this to Cody, and she was like, ‘Yes, Dreamy’s!’”
Cone by cone and sprinkle by sprinkle, the Wagner family’s idea to open an old school, soft serve food truck came to life in the form of a 1976 GMC Bandura camper.
A color scheme and lettering that’ll take you back to “simpler” times, Dreamy’s calls the Boone and Crockett Club’s parking lot “home.”
With a venue and a vehicle, the Wagners turned their attention to the good stuff.
“We use organic Lifeline milk with all of the dairy products, and it's so creamy,” said Cody. “We also do all of our fruits vegan, which has been a really big hit for a lot of people. Vegan soft serve actually tastes really really good.”
Inspired by Mason’s hometown ice cream shop, Dreamy’s offers only a couple flavors each day, but those flavors are guaranteed to keep you coming back.
Turning their dream of Dreamy’s into a reality took hard work, faith in the community, and above all else, a love of ice cream.
As the pandemic dragged on, the Wagners used ice cream as a way to stay positive. They’re ready to share their secret with the rest of Missoula.
“Everyone needs a little joy right now,” said Mason.
“That was sort of the reason when we were like, ‘Should we do it? Sounds like a lot, it's gonna be hard…’ and then it was like, ‘This last year has been awful, and everybody needs just a little bit of joy and ice cream is….that,” said Cody, noting, “Adults with sprinkles are some of the happiest people I've ever seen.”
Dreamy’s makes its way to the Boone and Crockett Club off Milwaukee Trail in Missoula most weekends. You can find their weekly schedule and flavors on their social media pages.