Making Ice Cream is a Family Affair in Bradley Beach

 

Coaster Photo - Pete and JoAnn Becker operate Four Boys Ice Cream in Bradley Beach.

Coaster Photo – Pete and JoAnn Becker operate Four Boys Ice Cream in Bradley Beach.

By JOSEPH SAPIA

There is Mom and Dad Becker. Four boys. The rest is family and business history.

The Beckers — JoAnn, 54, Pete, 55, and their four sons, Danny, 30, Dave, 26, Luke, 20, and Jake, 17 — recently opened their third Four Boys Ice Cream stand, at the corner of Ocean and Third Avenues in Bradley Beach. It is a summer season location, opening in May and planning to stay open to about Sept. 15.

“We love it here,” Pete said.

“People have been so nice,” JoAnn added. “I love the town.”

The Beckers, all of whom live in Manalapan, also have ice cream stands in Englishtown, their flagship store, since 2005, and Jamesburg, since 2012, where they took over sites that had been ice cream stands.

The Beckers are no strangers to doing business at the Shore. In 2014, for example, they had an ice cream trailer at Ocean and 13th avenues.

The Beckers’ ice cream business goes back to 1999, when they began neighborhood ice cream truck routes — because Danny suggested the family get an ice cream truck. At one point, they had five trucks, working neighborhoods in the Freehold, Manalapan and Marlboro area. They ended the neighborhood truck part of their business about eight years ago.

The family business also includes Four Boys Concessions, which sells ice cream and other food at events. The Beckers started doing events in 2003 with pretzels and, then, ice cream in 2004.

Pete and Danny are the full-time workers in the family business. Luke, a student at Brookdale Community College, works full-time in the summer.

JoAnn is off during the summer from her regular job as a special education teacher at Freehold Township High School. Dave, who works full-time for the Manalapan public works department, and Jake, help out with the family business.

As for the ice cream, Danny makes all the ice cream from his own recipes.

“We make every drop of ice cream,” JoAnn said. “Not many places can say that.”

The Bradley Beach location also sells such items as funnel cake, fried Oreo cookies, lemonade, iced coffee and cotton candy.

The Beckers found their way to Bradley Beach because Danny was looking for a Shore location — with the first stop in Belmar last year. They found the empty Bradley Beach location and Luke found a photograph on the Internet showing a previous smoothie business at the site having a line of people.

“OK, we’ll try it,” JoAnn said. “It’s really worked well. It’s a nice little third place.”

JoAnn’s family had owned Bayshore Air Freight in Matawan. The couple, married 32 years, worked there. When that business was sold, the two opened Parcel Place Messenger Service in 1983 and ran it until they sold it in 2007.

“We’ve re-invented ourselves so many times,” JoAnn said.

In winter, the Beckers organize for the next season — drumming up business for the coming season at events and doing maintenance work. The family also plows snow during the wintry season.

Now, the Beckers are thinking of opening a fourth ice cream stand, although they do not have a specific location in mind. As in the past, they and the locations kind of found each other.

“We’re always looking for other locations,” JoAnn said. “We have people call us now.”

As for Bradley Beach, JoAnn said, “We’re going to come back (in 2016).”

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