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‘It’s been a wild ride’: Michigan ice cream business expands after trading paper clip up to a truck

Joel Haugen began doing a series of trades for TikTok videos, eventually securing a working ice cream truck. | WXMI
WYOMING, Michigan (WXMI) — As the pandemic was settling in, Joel Haugen was looking for a new business opportunity. He decided to trade his way from a standard no-frills paper clip, all the way up to an operational ice cream truck.
(To be fair, the paper clip was shaped like a dog bone.)
Regardless, what started as a fun idea for social media quickly became a viable chance to start a new career.
Haugen had been working as an instructor and sales representative at an axe-throwing warehouse before he was laid off due to COVID shutdowns.
“We’re called Paper Clips Ice Cream because I started with a paper clip, and traded up to an ice cream truck,” Haugen recounted to FOX 17 Tuesday.
“People will double take, they’re like, what, can you explain that… I just love telling the story because it adds to the brand, to the satisfaction.”
As he would do these trades, he would document them in TikTok videos, and on other social media.
Arcade cabinets, old vehicles (of all sorts), and power tools would all come and go from his temporary collection.
Eventually, he had the ice cream truck he was after.
“First season went really well … small truck, I’m a big guy … but it worked really well,” he said Tuesday.
He drove neighborhood routes, showed up to community events, and booked business appreciation parties all over the area.
But now, he is looking to take the company further.
“I found this truck on Facebook marketplace, and I had to have it,” Haugen said Tuesday, standing in front of his new, much larger, vehicle.
“I wanted to do bigger and better events. Now it’s looking like I can do Amazon, Amway, the bigger things, and there’s no way I’ll run out.”
He and his family have worked over the past few months outfitting the truck with everything an ice cream business needs.
With only about 50,000 miles on the newer vehicle, he plans to use it for several seasons to come.
For now, Haugen and his wife make everything happen, but they aren’t ruling out the possibility of expanding even further, and hiring on more people in the near future.
Paper Clips Ice Cream is always looking to book events.
You can find information on its services at its website, and you can follow along with Haugen’s ongoing trading journey at his TikTok page.
**The following is a rundown of how Haugen originally traded from a paper clip to an ice cream truck** You will notice that sometimes he received multiple items in a single trade, which would prompt him to break up that group of items to trade separately. Those “break off” trade lines are listed below his initial, “main” line of trades.
Main Trade Line

Normal Paper Clip
Antique Brass Safety Pin
Super Smash Brothers Game for Nintendo Switch
7-Inch Wet Tile Saw
2-Ton Cherry Picker
Wild Big Buck Hunter Arcade Cabinet
2000 Jeep Cherokee
2 Palettes of Unopened Retail Store Returns
A Yamaha Blaster ATV & Pop-Up Camper

Break Off Trade Line A — Pop Up Camper

1969 Speed Boat
Bigger Boat
14 Ft Aluminum Fishing boat & Chevy Avalanche

Break Off Trade Line B — Yamaha Blaster

1998 Suzuki Intruder Motorcycle
Honda Motorcycle + $1,800 Cash
Dirtbike & Generator (Kept Generator)
John Deere Riding Lawnmower, $2,250 Cash (Kept Cash)
Oculus Rift, 2 Pairs of Jordans, Gaming Keyboard, Bluetooth Stereo, 2 Snowblowers, weed whacker

Break Off Trade Line C — $1,800 Cash

2 Used Arcade Games

Break Off Trade Line D — Pair of Jordans

Binder of Pokemon Cards
Marshall Guitar Amp, Electric Guitar, Several New Video Games

Break Off Trade Line E —Gaming Keyboard

Xbox One S, 24-Inch Smart TV

Break Off Trade Line F – Xbox One S

2012 TaoTao Moped

Break Off Trade Line G — 2 Used Arcade Machines

Drone, Schwinn Kids Bike, Go Kart Frame

Break Off Trade Line H — Go Kart Frame

RC Car
3 Pairs of Retro Jordans, Dewalt Power Tools

Break Off Trade Line I — 2012 TaoTao Moped

Hover-board, Boat Seat, 3D Printer, Angle Grinder, Electric Bike, Picture Frame, Bicycle, Antique Table, Masonic Temple Chair, Cricket Joy Machine, Metal Lighter

Break Off Trade Line J — Schwinn Kids Bike

Xbox 360 Bundle
Xbox One

Break Off Trade Line K — Metal Lighter

Box of Clown Statues

Break Off Trade Line L — Nick Knacks from Variety of Trades

Wine Bottle Press, Fermenting Kit

Break Off Trade Line M — Cash from Trades

Ford Transit Van

Break Off Trade Line N — Fishing Boat, Table Saw

Van Upgrades, Wrap Around Decals

Click here for updates on this story
The post ‘It’s been a wild ride’: Michigan ice cream business expands after trading paper clip up to a truck appeared first on East Idaho News.

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