Saturday, November 29, 2008

We Sell Customized Aprons and Other Apparel and sells T-shirts, aprons, coffee mugs, and many other items that have the classic hula dancer girl with a cup of shaved ice in her hand.

These aprons are great for busy concession stands. They are an easy way to convey a sense of professionalism and quality to your customers. Check out all of the great shirts and other apparel items that can help you create that professional image for your stand.

This Concession Trailer Will Certainly Draw Attention!

Check this awesome concession trailer out! If there was ever a trailer designed to catch the attention of passersby, it's this one. This is the Cadillac of all shaved ice concession trailers. This custom built Shaved Ice Caboose measures over 26 foot long and provides plenty of room for any busy shaved ice or concession business.

It comes complete with a bright red finish and the traditional caboose cupola. This Shaved Ice Caboose will definitely help you stand out from the crowd. No expense was spared and no corners were cut in the construction of this first-class concession trailer.

For more information about this awesome trailer, please visit

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shed’s Hawaiian Shaved Ice and Come Back Hot Dogs

After many years of serving in the US military, Shed now operates a mobile shaved ice and hot dog concessions business full time out of Savannah, Georgia. Recently, I talked with Shed about his business and how he had settled on establishing a mobile concessions business. Here are some of the highlights from our conversation:

How many years have you been in business?

Shed: I’m in my second year now.

Why did you choose to go into the shaved ice business?

Shed: During my military service, I was stationed for awhile in Hawaii. While visiting a flea market, I saw a line of people waiting to be served at a shaved ice stand. I watched the operator and how long it took him to make each serving and noticed the amount of money he was charging for each serving. At that time, I thought it was a great idea. The main ingredient (ice) is cheap and total business overhead is low. I knew it just came down to selecting a good location. Once I had finished my military service, it was a no brainer on what I wanted to do and at that time, I chose to start my own shaved ice business.

Would you tell us a little about your equipment and where you operate?

Shed: I purchased two Snowie 3000 machines from I have one that is 12volt (DC) and the other one is an AC machine. The Snowie is a real workhorse – very powerful and reliable. I had some issues in the beginning as far as learning how to use the machine, but the problems were mainly my fault and not the fault of the machine. I operate my business from a small, single axle trailer that is large enough for two employees. I primarily set up at two main locations. I spend two weeks at Hunter Army Airfield and then two weeks over at Fort Stewart. I also occasionally work at family reunions, church events, and fairs too. When I want to find events, I use the Internet to search for them. I operate year round due to selling hot dogs, chips, and soda, as well as shaved ice.

What advice would you give to potential shaved ice business owners?

Shed: I’d tell them to do their homework as far as health department regulations are concerned. Here in Georgia, ice is considered a prepared food product. Even though I purchase ice and it is bagged, I still am treated like a full fledged food service provider. Because of this, I must have a commissary. I need to have access to a full kitchen, approved by the health department where I can prepare my equipment and clean up my equipment. In some cases, if you don’t have access to this type of facility, it can be expensive to obtain a facility that will meet the health department standards. At times, it can also be hard to get a commissary agreement in place with a local restaurant or kitchen. So, I would encourage them to find out what rules the health department in their area has and how they apply to shaved ice businesses.

What has been your best day as far as gross sales?

Shed: I did about $700 selling shaved ice only on July 4th, from 3pm to 11pm. I had a line all day long. I think we used about a dozen 20lb. bags of ice that day. I made about $400 profit that day, which was really nice.

How has helped your business?

Shed: I order about 95% of all the supplies I use for my business online using I’m 100% satisfied with their service to my business. Anytime I need something, I know I can call Gary and he’ll take care of my needs. They always have a quick response to any requests or problems that may come up. For example, I was having difficulty with my Snowie machines right after I ordered them. I was using up blades real fast and I knew I was doing something wrong. I called Gary and he worked with me to solve the problem. Gary also called the machine manufacturer and I was able to speak directly with the owner about my problem. After a couple of phone conversations, they helped me figure out what I was doing wrong.

Have you had any funny moments with customers or employees?

Shed: I always seem to have a few skeptical customers. I wear a t-shirt that has my company name on it and a lot of people don’t understand the last part of my company name, ‘Come Back Hot Dogs.’ I have a recipe for cooking my hot dogs which gives them a unique taste. Many times, I’ll have a skeptical customer who will order one hot dog and leave. However, usually within 15 minutes, they’ll ‘come back’ for another one! Even though I am a mobile vendor, I get to see a lot of the same customers over and over again. Often times, I’ll get phone calls from loyal customers wondering when I’m going to be back in their area again. I also enjoy watching kids (and the young at heart) get excited about ordering shaved ice. Often times I get comments from older folks who say having a cup of shaved ice brings back good memories for them. I enjoy that.

What’s your favorite shaved ice flavor?

Shed: I like to mix cherry, wild cherry and black cherry.

I want to thank Shed for talking about his business with me. From everyone at, we wish only the best for Shed and his business. We appreciate the opportunity to provide him with our products and services. By the way, if you’re down around Savannah…be sure you stop by his stand for a couple of hot dogs. Just save some room for a cool, refreshing cup of shaved ice too!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Snowballs and Snowcones in St. Louis

I found this quirky article today that discusses quite a few different snowball and snow cone stands in the St. Louis metro area. While the dialog in the article is a bit goofy, I think the quick reviews of each stand might be helpful to other concessionaires.

So, when you get a chance, read through the article and you might gain a few useful insights for operating your own business more efficiently and profitably.

Monday, November 24, 2008

31 Days Until Christmas!

Are you making progress with your Christmas shopping? Still trying to figure out what to get everyone?

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Sometimes it's overwhelming to locate unique gifts for everyone on your list. Need a good suggestion? Try giving out a few gift certificates to A gift certificate is a great way to let someone pick out the gift that they will enjoy. Friends and family will still be thanking you when it's 100 degrees outside and they are enjoying a cool, refreshing shaved ice or snow cone thanks to you!

Visit today and grab a few gift certificates today!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

An Interview with Britton Roller: College Student and Entrepreneur in Oklahoma

Britton Roller, college student and business owner at 22 years of age. Britton is one busy guy! When he’s not attending Southeast Oklahoma State University studying for his degree in aviation, he pretty much spends the rest of his time inside his shaved ice stand. While at school (between classes of course!), Britton took some time to talk with me about his shaved ice business and answer some questions.

What’s the name of your shaved ice business?

Britton: I just use the traditional name, Hawaiian Shaved Ice.

How many years have you been in business?

Britton: I’ll be starting my 3rd season on April 12th. I’ll only be open a couple of days each week until the spring semester ends. Once I’m out of school though, I’ll be open seven days a week. I’m open from 11am to 10pm Monday thru Saturday and 2pm to 10pm on Sundays.

Why did you choose to go into the shaved ice business?

Britton: After spending a summer working at a factory with low pay and bad hours, my dad and I sat down to discuss other ideas for generating income for me so I could pay for college. We came up with the plan of opening our own shaved ice stand and operating it during the summer months. I did a lot of research about the business online. I found the website, downloaded and printed out their COLD CASH business manual. After more research, my dad and I went through it all together. Once we had looked at everything and the cost vs. profit, we put our plan into action. My dad loaned me the money to start up the business (which I paid back in full during my first season of operation).

Would you tell us a little about your equipment and where you operate?

Britton: Fortunately, my dad and I were able to design and build the stand ourselves. Initially the building was 15’x30’. However, due to the need for more freezers, we expanded the building and it is now 15’x45’. We have a great location in a business parking lot in town. I have a New Orleans Block Machine and it’s perfect for our stand. It creates the best shaved ice around! We make our own block ice in-house too. During my first season, we underestimated the amount of ice we would need and consequently had to purchase additional block ice from a local ice house. However, after adding on to the building, we now have 2 upright freezers for making ice and 3 deep, floor freezers for storing ice blocks. I go through about 15-25 blocks of ice every day. When I first opened my stand, there were two other stands in town too. However, they have both closed since then, leaving me without any local competition. There are several stands in the larger town just north of us.

What advice would you give to someone interested in starting their own shaved ice business?

Britton: I would have to say that they should expect to put a lot more time into it than they originally plan. It’s very time consuming. Your time invested goes way beyond just the hours you are open for customers. Also, I’d recommend that they operate it themselves. If you’re looking to make the most money, you need to do it yourself. I work everyday and don’t have any employees. I feel that I’m fortunate though because by doing this, I don’t have to work at all during the school year.

Be open to customer suggestions too. I’ve had customers suggest different flavors or recipes and I’ve tried them. If they’re popular, I’ve added them to my menu. Customer service is critical and part of that is responding to their requests.

Another thing I would recommend to someone interested in operating their own shaved ice business is to set your hours and stick with them. Be consistent! You can’t close just because you have something else that you want to do that particular day. You will lose customers! You have to set your hours and be open in order to build repeat customers.

What has been your best day as far as gross sales?

Britton: On my busiest days, I’ll bring in about $300-315 per day. I probably make about 150-200 servings on those days. My profit margin is pretty high because my expenses are very limited. I’d say that my profit margin runs around 80%.

How has helped your business?

Britton: is fantastic. When I first started my business, I ordered everything from them. I ordered my machine, mixing supplies, bottles, utensils…everything came from Now I order all of my flavors, sugar free base packs, and other items through them. I think their customer service is awesome. I know that I can call them, ask a question and they’ll get an answer for me. When I ordered my machine in the beginning, Gary called us up and counseled us in making a decision on a machine that was slightly higher in price, but much better in quality. He was right and we really appreciated the time and effort he took in helping us choose a great machine for our business.

Have you had any funny moments with customers or employees?

Britton: One thing I enjoy is knowing what my customers are going to order. Because I’m a neighborhood stand, I get a lot of repeat customers. It’s fun to have a customer ask me, “What is it that I order all the time?” They get a kick out of the fact that I can remember their order and they can’t.

Another thing that I find interesting is the amount of people who will come and just order a plain cup of ice (no flavor). They just like the ice that our machine produces. I have a boy who’s about 4 years old that comes by with his grandma just about every day. He likes to get a cup of plain ice with a blue straw. A lot of times I’ll see him coming across the parking lot and I’ll have it ready, sitting under the counter, waiting for him. He gets a thrill when I pull it out and hand it over to him.

I also had a customer come through, order a cup of shaved ice, taste it, and ask: “Are your flavors from that company in North Carolina?” I was blown away. I told them yes, it was from and they said they could tell just by the taste! Apparently they used to own or work at a stand where they used the same flavors. It just goes to show you that people can taste the difference between cheaply made syrups and the quality syrups made by

What’s your favorite shaved ice flavor?

Britton: My favorite is called a “Salty Dog.” Some people may make it in different ways, but I make it with strawberry syrup, real lemon juice, and margarita salt.

Thanks for taking the time to talk about your stand with us Britton. We really appreciate your insight! Everyone here at admires your dedication to your customers and the hard work you put in to your business. We wish you the best with your education, flying, and your shaved ice business!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Insights from Customers at a Shaved Ice Stand

I came across this article this morning. It's from 2006, so it is old. However, what struck me as most important about the entire article was the quotes from customers. There are some good nuggets for insight in this article. It's always helpful to know what your customers are thinking.

I would encourage you to take a moment and read this article. I consider this one of those "magic lanterns" for concessionaires. It's just an opportunity to gain more insight into how you may be able to serve the absolute best products to your customers.

Holiday Gift Idea

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This complete home shaved ice package is great for families, picnics, family reunions or pool parties! Our most popular shaved ice package, this complete kit also makes a unique gift for any Shaved Ice or Snow Cone Lover.

* Included in the package:S-660 Shaved Ice Machine
* 5 quart bottles of Premium Syrup (your choice)
* 25 Spoon Straws
* Set of 3 Ice Molds
* 5 Bottle Pourers
* 25 Sno Cone Cups

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Another Unique Take on Cotton Candy

I also found this interesting blog post at discussing cotton candy. Not only does she have some great cotton candy pictures (check out the huge witch hat), but some cool video as well.


A Unique Version of Cotton Candy

Here's a twist on normal cotton candy that sounds pretty tasty to me! Check out this article about Maple Cotton Candy that is sold in North Carolina at the State Fair. It may just inspire you to get creative with your products and menu!