By Faith Hatton, posted Jun 1, 2023 on BizFayetteville.com
A Fayetteville N.C. based mobile food stand is looking to combine the best of the north and south by bringing a longtime Philly favorite treat to the Cumberland County area: Philadelphia Water Ice.
C&S themselves: Carla and Sean Stansberry, the married couple who run this business, are no strangers to their food truck’s specialty, experiencing it for themselves in New Jersey after relocating due to Carla’s military career. After Carla retired, the two returned to Fayetteville, Sean’s hometown. The couple said they began to miss the treat they had come to love and decided to supply it to the people down south. The couple opened their mobile food stand in June of 2022 and have been busy ever since.
“We wanted to have a small business that people would enjoy, something that you can’t find a lot of. I love the Italian Ice and it was tough to find when we moved back,” shared Sean. “It was easily available in New Jersey, but it was tough to find when we came back. It was just one of those things I missed a lot. We opened our business and it’s kind of built into what it is now.”
You might wonder, what exactly is Philadelphia Water Ice?
Ingredients such as water, sugar and flavors - primarily pineapple, strawberry and lemon are combined with water ice; firmer than a slushy, yet softer than sorbet, it creates a blend in between.
The mixture leans more toward gelato and is dairy free.
“We saw how big it was, and we were talking about ‘Oh, we should open up one of the franchises.’ We were just looking at different ways to do it. And then last year, we’re just like, ‘It’s hot, let's just do it.’ We both missed it because this is not just regular Italian Ice, it’s a lot smoother,” shared Carla. “And, obviously, we were obsessed with it up there and were just like, ‘Let’s just do it, let's open up one down here.’”
While Philadelphia Water Ice is the signature dessert for the stand, it also offers fair foods year round including house made mini doughnuts, deep
fried oreos and hand squeezed lemonade all made to order.
“There’s no gimmicks, it’s all top of the line. The ice is made in Philadelphia, we buy it wholesale, the ice is amazing. So it’s all about the combination,” shared Sean.
The Stansberrys said that the want for a better work life balance and the ability to spend more time with their three-year-old son and each other helped drive the couple to make the business a reality. Sean works the truck full time, and Carla assists while also working as a realtor for Thomas Real Estate Services.
“Being able to be family owned and seeing my family each day, not having to be gone out of town, I used to do long distance hauling and I stopped doing that because it was just an inconvenience,” shared Sean. “Now I get to see my family, day in and day out.” Both Sean and Carla agree that being local but mobile business has been an enjoyable experience so far. While they are open about traveling to specific attractions and events, the two said they only like to go about 60 miles out of Fayetteville to set up shop.
“We're just always on the go. People are like, ‘Oh, we want you to come back over here.’ We’ll do all of our events and then we'll start setting up throughout town. We have to have permission to set up so we just can't just come to where people want us to go sometimes,” shared Carla.
According to Sean, the couple would like to continue to introduce southerners to Philadelphia Water Ice and are open to coming to public and private events. The stand is known to make appearances at Aloha Zoo in Cameron, and at City events for Fayetteville and the Town of Hope Mills.
“We’ve been focusing on doing stuff locally, but it’s built into quite a schedule now. So we’ve got school systems, we’ve got people that have weddings coming up. We’ve got small town festivals,” shared Sean. “We want to be able to stay local and still build the business at the same time. So we’d like to expand a little bit, maybe go to some new places and get some new people that haven't had it before.”
With the popularity of their treats resulting in more than 2,000 likes and follows on social media, the couple said they are always glad to greet their regular customers who have become friends over the course of their time in the community.
“People are like ‘Oh I’ve been trying to track you guys down through Facebook, we’re so glad you’re here today!’” shared Carla. “It's been completely crazy, but it's worth it. We meet a lot of people and people have been really supportive of the business especially since we're a new local business, and this has been easy to keep it going.”
Customers can follow C&S Ice on Facebook to find out where they’ll be today!
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