Noell Vanasselberg wears many, many hats.
The Tremont resident is a mom and a gardener. She’s a counselor and chef. She’s a breeder, an entrepreneur and a philanthropist.
She’s a doer, in other words.
Last year, Vanasselberg and her family – her husband, Clint, and their two children, Caroline and Sawyer – purchased a snow cone machine and trailer and launched their latest business venture, Sweet Carloine’s. They set up in the parking lot of JoJo’s Boutique in Fulton, formerly Van’s Sales, and begin selling snow cones and ice cream to customers hunting sweet treats on scorching days.
Their instant bestseller was the “puffle,” an inverted waffle cone filled with ice cream. The family traveled to several festivals, where they picked up a lot of expert advice from fellow vendors.
“They were all so helpful, because they had been doing it for a while,” Vanasselberg said. “We learned a lot during those festivals.”
Sweet Caroline’s was a near-instant success.
But this year, the COVID-19 pandemic presented Sweet Caroline’s with a few setbacks. With social distancing measures in place, the Vanasselbergs couldn’t open their ice cream stand, but now that restrictions are loosening, they hope to have the shop up and running soon.
But her metaphorical soda jerk cap is just one hat Vanasselberg wears. She’s also the counselor at Dorsey Attendance Center. She loves her students and devotes her time to helping the school and its students become as successful as she can.
This past school year, Vanasselberg pushed for a grant to help fund a mobile culinary class and school garden. Her hard work payed off: She helped the school earn a $50,000 grant to set up two mobile kitchens and a garden for the students. Now, she’s the coordinator for the programs that will use these elements. She said she is excited for the fall, when she’ll be able to share her love of food and cooking with Dorsey students.
“I used to cater a while ago for small events, and cooking runs in my family,” she said.
Vanasselberg credits her many ideas and business ventures to her father, whom she dubbed a “jack of all trades.” Her family has been there every step of the way with tools, moral support, and improvement ideas. The Vanasselbergs are family-oriented and try to involve every member in every project they undertake, whether it be raising animals, running an ice cream shop, or even something as simple as building a new animal pen.
Although family has always been an important part of Noell Vanasselberg’s life, when her daughter, Caroline, was diagnosed with Wilm’s tumor in 2011, the importance of her family came into sharp focus. Caroline Vanasselberg’s right kidney had to be completely removed because of the cancer, and the chemotherapy treatments have caused the young girl to develop kidney disease.
“Caroline’s cancer was the hardest thing we have ever had to go through,” Vanasselberg said. “We’ve been blessed tremendously with such a good place and community that has supported us.”
Because of her daughter’s illness, the Vanasselbergs witnessed firsthand how important family is. They count their blessings daily and devote their time to give back to the community that has given so much to them.
It’s one reason Vanasselberg wears so many hats these days. She’s wants to contribute as much as she can to whoever she can. It’s what drives her to keep doing the many things she does.
“I’ve always been an idea-girl and lifelong learner,” she said. “I have always been passionate about learning and wanting to know everything about a subject before I move onto my next project. I’m just lucky to have a family that is as supportive and helpful as mine.”