Wednesday, March 5, 2008


There are many different ways to kick off the new season for your shaved ice stand. There are many different ways to have a grand opening for your new shaved ice location too. The most effective form of advertising that we have ever used though was an idea that we had on opening day back in 1994.

We were new to area and there wasn’t another shaved ice stand around for 30 miles. Local people knew what snow cones were but they were not familiar with shaved ice. So on opening day, we placed colorful helium balloons all around our location. We also placed a large lettered, roadside sign beside the highway in front of our building that read “Grand Opening, Shaved Ice, 32 Flavors, FREE SAMPLES.” To kick off our business, we gave samples of shaved ice away on the first day for FREE. In fact we gave away around 430, 6 ounce cups of shaved ice that first day. We had a line of customers outside our stand all day long which help to create additional curiosity for passing motorists.

The next day we sold over $170.00 of shaved ice. The following day we sold over $300 and from that day forward, we never looked back! For around $40 (the total cost of all the shaved ice given away on opening day), we launched our business and soon became the talk of the town. The week following our grand opening was crazy! Sales were great and customers were happy. Many of the customers that bought from us the first week were the same people that had stopped in for a free cup of shaved ice on opening day. However, the majority of the customers were brand new. They were customers who were curious about the new business in town or they had learned about us from previous customers. Since our first ‘Free’ day, word of mouth advertising has proven to be the most lucrative form of advertising for our business.

We encourage every shaved ice stand to have a Free Day. It’s a great way to kick off the new season, attract new customers, reward customers from last season and create a buzz around your stand. It’s also a fantastic way to kick off the word of mouth referrals that are incredibly valuable to any business!

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