For Eric and Uricka Parker, owners of the Frozen Brain, Fulton has quickly become their home.
The Frozen Brain is a shaved ice mobile business based in Fulton. It was established in 2022.
The Parkers have been together for 15 years, and have been married for the past 8. They have three children.
The Frozen Brain's story began three years ago when the Parkers moved to Missouri from Illinois.
Before moving to Illinois, Parker said they were homeless.
"I was just in a hard spot trying to understand a lot of things about life that I was not taught," Parker said. "So when we moved to Fulton, it gave us a new breath of fresh air and a new purpose. Everything was different."
When they first moved to Fulton, Eric worked at Walsworth for about a year.
He discussed with his wife what they could do to spend more time with their kids and "have more freedom over our life."
"So we decided we're going to get into the entrepreneurship," Parker said. "We took my entire tax refund -- it was only about 10 grand -- and we took that and we invested into this bus and into a shaved ice machine."
He had to drive five hours to pick up the bus from Kansas.
Once they had the bus, they gutted it and painted it themselves.
He said that the immediate community response to the business was much greater than expected.
"We didn't expect the response that we first got," Parker said. "When we first did it, it was something that was intended to be kinda small, but just to help us pay the bills and have some time with each other."
He said one reason the Frozen Brain grew so quickly in the community was because of their syrup, which is all made in-house.
The business quickly established a social media presence, which Parker said helped with their growth.
Since starting in 2022, the business has been booked by every local school district. On Thursday, the Frozen Brain was at a Fulton High School track and field meet.
Parker said they are booked for almost all of May.
"We probably have one week out of May that we won't be booked," he said. "And when we're not booked, we usually park at the (John C. Harris) Community Center (350 Sycamore St.)."
Every week, the Frozen Brain serves at least 500 customers just at the community center.
Parker said one challenge they have faced so far was learning how to run a business.
"We had our first couple of push backs last year, trying to understand the business as far as like going to health departments and fire departments to know what code (to follow). We just took it as we went and we passed everything," he said.
Staying transparent with customers and letting them know about what the Frozen Brain was going through was important, Parker added.
Seeing the response from the community has been very impactful to the Parkers.
"The response we got from the community, I can say that's more inspirational than the profit margins," he said.
Seeing how happy kids get when they go to the bus makes it all worth it, Parker added.
Parker said the business just hired their first employees besides himself and Uricka. The two employees will begin on May 1.
He said it is important for them to hire students who probably don't have much work experience.
The Frozen Brain placed second in the Callaway Chamber of Commerce's 2022 Show-Me Innovation Pitch Competition. They received $1,500 for placing second.
The money from the competition was used to make improvements to the bus and increase their marketing.
Parker said they also used money received last year to invest back into the business. One upgrade was the purchase of uniforms for the employees.
He said they are looking forward to the future, and have no plans to leave anytime soon.
"I feel like I got a bright future, me and my family got a bright future ahead of us here. We want to go nowhere else. The community embraced us so much, and they show us so much love and support," Parker said.
To learn more about the Frozen Brain, visit Facebook.com/TheFrozenBrain.