Monday, January 26, 2009

Byrd House Enterprises, Arkansas

Byrd House Enterprises is a company owned by Patrick Byrd which is involved in many different areas of the business world (property management, furniture, online marketing, and shaved ice). I had the opportunity to talk to Brandy, who manages and operates the shaved ice portion of Byrd House Enterprises. Here’s what Brandy had to say about how they operate their shaved ice business in Arkansas.

What’s the name of your shaved ice business?

Brandy: We chose to just go with just calling it Hawaiian Shaved Ice.

How many years have you been in business?

Brandy: We are starting our 3rd season. We are opening our stand on April 1st. Our season will end on August 31st. We used to stay open until October. However, once school started back up, our sales dropped tremendously. So, we’ve decided to shorten our season.

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

Brandy: Simply put…money. When the location became available to us after another stand moved away, we decided to open our own stand in that same location. We knew that there was only one other shaved ice business and it was on the opposite side of town. We saw the potential and went for it.

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

Brandy: We purchased a 6’x14’ trailer from and love it. It’s sharp looking and attractive to our customers. We use a New Orleans Block Machine. It’s extremely dependable and makes great shaved ice. In my opinion, it’s the perfect machine for a high volume stand. We only sell shaved ice. We are a neighborhood stand and have an excellent location. It’s a prime spot. Of course, we produce an excellent product which brings people back time after time, but our location is a major factor to the success of our stand too.

One thing that’s interesting to me is the fact that most of our customers (around 60%) are adults. After school gets out, we see a lot of kids. During the summer break, we get a lot of kids too. But, most of the time we serve more adults than kids. We also have a couple of local businesses who will come over on a regular basis and order shaved ice for all of their employees. They’ll bring a list with everyone’s order, we’ll make them, box it up and they take them back to everybody.

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

Brandy: Three things come to mind. First, take the time to find a prime location where the market isn’t flooded with competitors. Securing a great location is incredibly important to the success of any business. Do some research and find the best location possible. Second, work the stand yourself. Be dedicated to the success of your business. The best way to grow your business is to be directly involved in the day to day operations. Finally, keep your stand clean. People notice. A clean stand serving great products adds up to quality. Quality matters to your customers. Quality creates repeat customers.

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

Brandy: July 4th has been our best sales day. I don’t have an absolute figure that I can give you. However, we probably sold 350-400 servings that day at an average price of $2 per serving. Conservatively, I’d say our profit margin runs about 30%. We have never really put “pen to paper” to run the numbers and come up with those kind of figures. So, 30% is probably a very conservative number.

How has helped your business?

Brandy: Dealing with is great. I know that I can call Carly, tell her what I need and it’s on its way to me. Sometimes I have called her three times in one day…she’s great. Their support is fantastic and their products are unrivaled.

Have you had any funny moments with customers or employees?

Brandy: The only thing that comes to mind is that we had a customer who, for some reason, had her mouth wired shut for close to three months. She came to our stand everyday for lunch and dinner…everyday! She always ordered the same thing, Honolulu Hawaiian with cream. I think our stand was the only way she survived for those three months!

What’s your favorite shaved ice flavor?

Brandy: My all time favorite is definitely mango with cream.

I want to thank Byrd House Enterprises and especially thank Brandy for taking time out of her busy schedule to discuss their shaved ice business with me. I know that their insight into operating a neighborhood shaved ice stand will prove to be invaluable to other concessions owners and potential shaved ice owners. From everyone at, we wish you a “long hot summer” full of sales!

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