Standing inside of her brightly colored LA Donut Sundae Truck, Gabby Galvan smiles at customers as they approach the order window beneath a hot pink awning.
A young boy requests a chocolate glazed donut with vanilla ice cream. Galvan scoops generous portions of ice cream over the donut but skips the syrup because her young customer only wants Oreo cookie crumbs.
“My forte is dessert. I’m a pastry chef and I have a sweet tooth like any girl,” says Galvan, explaining the motivation behind her LA Donut Sundae business. “I went swimming one day and the whole concept came about. I knew I had to incorporate a concept that was easy, that everyone loved, that worked in the summer as well as the winter and that was different.”
Currently, her ice cream flavor offerings are familiar to most customers. She only serves classic Thrifty’s flavors (currently owned by Rite-Aid pharmacies). She drives her truck from North Hollywood to Lancaster and everywhere in between. She works seven days a week and runs her own marketing and social media accounts.
The 34-year old entrepreneur who grew up in Lincoln Heights wasn’t always a food truck owner and operator. In her twenties, Galvan held a corporate career with enviable benefits and a generous salary.
“I had what society calls ‘the successful life,'” she recalled. “I had the expensive car, the purses…but I hated my life.”
Galvan recalls feeling miserable with her nine-to-five. She knew that if she worked for herself as hard as she was working for her company, she would be okay. By the time she turned 27 she had made a decision. She kissed her full-time job good bye and enrolled in culinary school.
Six years later, Galvan owns two popular dessert trucks, the LA Donut Sundae truck is her latest venture. She’s a self-described workaholic with a business mentality that’s constantly in ‘high-gear’ but she loves her life, she says.
I’m happy. I deal with many people and that makes me happy,” she explains with confident demeanor. “I reflect on everything that’s happened, and sure, there’s no paid time off, there’s no sick time, there’s no vacation, there’s no family time, there’s no ‘I’m not going to work’ but I’m fine with that.”
And customers appreciate her for it. Every person buying a donut sundae during a recent food truck night at El Cariso Park in Sylmar walked away with a big smile. Others waited around her truck curious to see the next donut sundae creation and snap pictures of it.
A little girl who asked for a pink glazed sprinkles donut, vanilla ice cream and glazed animal cookies held up her donut sundae and told her mom “this is my favorite thing in the whole world.”