Treatsie provides monthly candy subscription services along with an online candy store. The owners began operating the mobile food service out of a white van earlier this week to promote their service to people in the Little Rock area. Police arrested Treatsie founders Keith Hoelzeman and Jamie Walden while operating the van near a school in downtown Little Rock Wednesday afternoon.
“Food trucks have become extremely popular in the city. We thought it would be a great idea to offer free samples of candy along with for sale items and monthly subscription sign ups,” Hoelzeman tells us. “We wanted to experiment with it as a marketing concept, so we borrowed an old white van and stuck the words ‘Free Candy’ on the side along with a small logo. Looking back that was probably a bad idea.”
The Treatsie van contained all appropriate license and permits to operate as a mobile food vendor. Hoelzeman and Walden were released this morning after being detained for twelve hours while police investigated the complaints. No evidence of wrongdoing was found, however police requested the city to revoke the mobile food vending permit for the van in question.
Police were initially alerted to the candy van on Monday night after Treatsie set up in the Hillcrest district next to a popular snow-cone stand. Officials were then called on Tuesday afternoon when the group opened near a preschool in the Quapaw district. Both times the van was gone before police could investigate.
“I was picking up my daughter from daycare and I heard some strange man call out to her,” a local woman tells us. “He said ‘Hey kid, you want some candy? We even have something in the back for your momma too.’ I called the cops as quick as I could.”
Hoelzeman tells us that they learned their lesson and hope to try the food truck concept again soon. “We want to put a little more thought into it so that it does not creep people out. We may have Jamie dress up as a clown and hand out samples, I think that may go over really well,” Hoelzeman says.