Jersey Shore Ice Cream Vendors Say Bell Ban Hurts Their Business

We all scream for ice scream during the summer, but a Navy veteran who operates an ice cream truck at the Jersey Shore says he’s screaming more than usual thanks to a law that has only recently been enforced.

Jimmy Vorraso, an ice cream truck operator in Brigantine, NJ says he’s losing business because he can no longer ring a bell to attract customers to his truck.

“I’m losing my vocals here by yelling and screaming,” Vorraso said. “It’s so far away and if you yell, they can’t hear you. It has stalled my business over 50 percent. Elderly people do not come back." 

Brigantine had a law barring the use of bells to sell ice cream at the beach for more than a decade. Vorraso claims it was rarely enforced however until police told him to stop using a bell this summer.

Vendors also say children have to cross a busy street just to get to the ice cream due to a crackdown on parking. The owners claim they have to park their trucks at least 200 feet away from the back of the beach. In the past they were allowed to sell treats right where the streets meet the sand.

“I feel uncomfortable with that because you see some of these kids and sometimes they come up unattended by their parents and I just feel that’s a safety issue,” said Jim Callista, another ice cream truck owner.

NBC10 reached out to Brigantine’s city manager but she had no comment. A Brigantine police spokesman told NBC10 that officers began to enforce the rules on ice cream vendors after they received complaints about bell ringing and parking.

“I try to abide and follow the rules,’ Callista said. “But you abide by the rules and you lose business.”

Vorraso says police have stopped him from ringing a bell more than 15 times so far this summer. However, they have never issued tickets but only warnings.

As the restrictions continue, Vorraso and others say they’ll have to find ways to deal with the decreased sales.

“It’s just ice cream and it’s all about ice cream,” Vorraso said. “It’s not about the dollars and cents.”

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