Friday, January 29, 2010

Is Your Shaved Ice Machine Ready for the Season Ahead?

Have you prepped your shaved ice machine for the upcoming season? If not, it's time to get it cleaned up, test it, and make sure everything is in proper order.

Do you need parts or accessories? At, we offer a wide variety of parts and accessories for the shaved ice machines we sell on our site. If you need a new foot pedal, ice molds, or replacement blades, we have them! We also stock replacement blades for our snow cone machines too.

If for some reason you need a part for your machine and we don't have it listed on our site, please be sure to call us and we'll be happy to help you locate it.

Cake Batter Syrup

Remember helping your mom or grandmother bake a cake when you were young? Remember being able to lick the batter off the spoons or from the bowl? Remember how great that tasted? We do!

Now, you can get that same nostalgic taste from with our Cake Batter syrup flavor!

Quart bottles of our Yellow Cake Batter Syrup are now on sale! Order today, save some money, and enjoy the fresh from the oven taste of cake batter on your next shaved ice or snow cone.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Finding Events for Your Mobile Concessions Business

When you're a mobile concessionaire, it's important to get your schedule filled up with good, high traffic events. Do you know where to go and who to contact for events in your area?

Over the past few years, the use of the Internet to find events has increased and the results available have improved dramatically too.

At, we have posted many of our favorite links that we have used to find good events. Articles containing those links are scattered throughout the blog and have been posted over the past several years.

Since the special events season is about to get started, we thought it would be helpful to post those links in one, central article this year so that our readers can reference them easily.

Here's the list!

1. Soccer Tournament Directory - Soccer tournaments are great events for all types of concessionaires!
2. - National Softball Tournament Directory. Again, softball tournaments draw large crowds of people who don't want to leave to get snacks (for fear of losing their parking space) so they will happily patronize your stand. Nothing beats shaved ice or a snow cone on a hot day at a tournament!
3. - USCarny's does a great job of compiling events of all sorts by state. It's a great resource and will definitely become a favorite for you!

**The next 3 resources are very similar in nature. However, we like to list all 3 of them because at times, each of them will list an event unique just to that particular site.

6. - Festival Network Online offers you the ability to use their site for free, but limits some of the information you are able to view. To get detailed information about particular events, you need to join their site using one of their membership packages. Our suggestion is to try the free approach at first and see if you think it is a viable website that will serve your needs. If so, go ahead and join. We have joined in the past and felt that it was worth it due to the events we found and participated in by using their website.

We hope you will find these links useful!

If you're in the shaved ice, snow cone, or cotton candy business - be sure to visit our websites for the best products at the lowest prices! features everything you need to keep your shaved ice and snow cone business in tip=top shape! offers concessionaires everything you can think of related to cotton candy!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Tips for Hiring Seasonal Employees

With spring only 54 days away (hooray), it's time to start figuring out how you are going cover the hours of operation for your stand or your mobile operation. If you are an established, you probably have an established group of workers that you rely on each season. If not, or if you are new to the industry, here are a few tips to help you as you hire employees to work for you during the spring and summer seasons.

1. Referrals. If you already have good, existing staff, ask them. Good workers know other good workers. Give them the opportunity to bring in someone they like to work with and will do a good job.
2. Make sure that potential employees are well aware of your season (start and end dates). If your business operates primary on weekends at various special events and festivals, be sure that they are okay with working weekends throughout the spring and summer season.
3. Hire people who will represent your business well. Remember, the person behind the counter of your stand will definitely be remembered by your customers. Make sure that the people you are comfortable with putting in front of people and allowing them to be the 'face' of your business. Traits to consider: personality, responsibility, kindness, and vivaciousness...the list goes on.
4. Look to hire people who will be interested in working for you next season too. A new employee is an investment of your time and finances. Seek people who will work with you more than one season if possible.
5. Be careful and aware of guidelines when hiring minors. Many of those hired for seasonal work are under the age of 18. Double-check federal and state guidelines as to the type of work minors are allowed to perform and the number of hours they are permitted to work.

These are just a few things to consider as you prepare to hire seasonal workers for your shaved ice or snow cone business. We hope you will find these useful as you prepare for the upcoming season. We hope your 2010 season will be a successful one!

New to the Shaved Ice or Snow Cone Industry?

Are you new to the snow cone or shaved ice business world? If so, WELCOME! We think you have chosen a great industry.

As our way of saying welcome, we want to offer to you our FREE 100+ page business manual. Our manual, COLD CASH: An Insider's Guide on How to Make Money in the Shaved Ice, Snow Ball, and Snow Cone Business has been written with you in mind. Our desire is to take our years of experience and pass on the tips, tricks, and knowledge we have acquired and pass it on to you. In doing so, we hope that it will help you establish your business and achieve success.

Here is a brief list of topics that are covered in our manual:

Types of Shaved Ice and Snow Cone Machines
RTU Syrups and Flavor Concentrates
Secret Specialty Recipes
Business Revenue and Expenses
Business Equipment & Supplies
State and Local Business Requirements

Please visit our main website, and request your FREE copy today! We hope you will find it informative and helpful as you begin your exciting journey in the shaved ice and snow cone business world!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Did You Know? has a Facebook fan page and we'd really like it if you'd join us as a fan if you're on Facebook. If you're not on Facebook yet...what are you waiting for? :)

Our fan page allows us to interact with people all over the world. Occasionally we offer special discounts on products through our fan page too. It's definitely worth following!

Here's the link: Facebook Fan Page


Legal Business Entities

Are you putting together a new concessions business? If so, have you chosen the best legal structure for your new company? Have you gotten that far yet? If not, here is a great breakdown of the legal business entities available in the US today. This list has been compiled by SCORE.

We hope that you will find the descriptions of these business entities helpful as you move forward in forming your new business.

Types of Legal Entities

Choosing the legal structure of your business is an important first step to beginning operations. Different business entities offer different levels of protection, control and potential tax savings. Here are some of the most common types of business organizations:

Sole Proprietorships
A sole proprietorship is created by default–if you begin business operations solo, without forming a specific organization, you’re a sole proprietor. Sole proprietorships have the least amount of liability protection for the business owner. If your company is sued or pursued for unpaid debt, creditors can seize your personal assets as repayment. Sole proprietors pay tax on business income on their personal income tax returns–the business does not pay its own taxes.

Partnerships are similar to Sole Proprietorships in that income “passes through” the business to be taxed at a personal level. Partnerships can offer some liability protection if they are structured as limited liability partnerships. A partnership can allocate profits and losses among the partners as it sees fit–usually specified in the partnership agreement. Partnerships can also be “formed” very informally in some cases, without filing any legal documents.

Most for-profit companies operate as C-Corporations. The owners of a C-Corporation, called shareholders, are taxed twice–once at the corporate level (the corporation files its own tax return) and once at the personal level on income received from the company. C-Corporations offer heightened protection for owners and allow a more formal, defined structure for business owners–you’re required to file articles of incorporation, hold annual meetings and meet other requirements, depending on which state you choose to incorporate in.

S-Corporations also provide personal liability protection against business debts. S-Corporations are similar to C-Corporations in many respects–there are certain requirements for formation and operation and the corporation is its own legal entity–but income “passes through” the corporation to shareholders, similar to taxation at the Partnership or Sole Proprietorship level. An S-Corporation offers many of the benefits of incorporation without exposing the shareholders to the double taxation a C-Corporation requires.

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a hybrid entity that has some characteristics of a corporation. Rules for LLCs are usually determined at the state level and can vary depending on which state you form your business in. LLCs have fewer ownership restrictions than corporations and more flexible management structures, but allow owners fewer options when it comes to raising capital for business operations or finding investors.

No matter which type of business organization you choose to form, make sure you consider all of your options before making a decision. It’s a good idea to consult with an attorney, so you can fully understand the benefits and drawbacks to each type of entity.

SCORE, the “Counselors of America’s Small Business Owners” is a national association dedicated to helping small business owners form and grow their businesses. Headquartered in Herndon, Virginia and Washington D.C., SCORE has 364 chapters in the United States as well as in U.S territories. SCORE is a partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Valentine's Day is Coming Quickly

Are you ready? Have you purchased your gifts for Valentine's Day? Why not give them a gift that they'll enjoy into the spring and summer? Order one of the great shaved ice or snow cone packages featured at! For example, order the Ultimate Shaved Ice Package and your loved one will have everything they need to make tasty, refreshing shaved ice treats well into the summer months. Order it with Cherry, Strawberry, Raspberry, Bahama Mama, and Pink Lemonade syrup flavors (all red and pink). Of course, you may also choose from any of our 75 award winning flavors!

The Ultimate Shaved Ice Package comes with the following:

*S-660 Shaved Ice Machine or Substitute the S-4950 for $5.00 more
*5 quart bottles of Premium Syrup (your choice)
*25 Spoon Straws
*Set of 3 Ice Molds
*5 Bottle Pourers
*25 Sno Cone Cups

Order today while this package is on sale for Valentine's Day and save over $25 off the regular price. We're sure that your loved one will enjoy this quality shaved ice package for years to come. Hopefully they'll share some delicious shaved ice with you too!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

5 Tips for Small Business Owners in 2010

Since we are all considered small business owners, I thought it might be a good idea to grab a few good tips from the many articles that are out there on the web and put them here in ConcessionCentral (with proper citation and links of course). As I'm sure you're fully aware, there is a ton of information on the Internet on just about every subject possible. For many of us, it can be a daunting task to wade through it all to find a few good nuggets of helpful information.

With the year just getting underway, this seems to be a good time to review and refine some business practices for most of us. If your business is seasonal, this is a great time because it's cold out there and most seasonal business are closed.

So, from one small business owner to another, here's what I have found so far that I felt like passing on to you:

1. Offer Good Quality at a Fair Price
The second principle for business success with any product or service is that it must be of good quality at a fair price. If it's in competition with other similar products or services, it must have what's called a Unique Selling Proposition—one or more features or benefits that make it unique, different and superior to any competitive product or service.

This area of uniqueness is central to success in business. No product or service can succeed unless it's somehow unique and superior to any other product or service that competes with it. There's seldom any opportunity to build a business around a "me too" product—a product or service that's just the same as all the others, where the only difference is that it's you who happens to be selling it.

The safest business strategy is to start off with an accepted product that already has a widespread market and then find a way to improve upon it in some way. Deliver it faster, make it better or of higher quality, or lower the price of the product or service in some way. Instead of trying to invent a new business or industry, start off with a product or service that people are already using and find some way to make it more desirable. Courtesy of

2. Cut Personal Expenses: Find ways to cut costs outside of the business, because you’ll likely have to take home less pay and even go into your savings: 69 percent of small business owners say that current economic conditions are forcing them to reduce the amount of money they take home from their businesses, and 61 percent think they are very or somewhat likely to use their personal assets in the next year to keep their businesses afloat. Courtesy of Yahoo! Finance.

3. Create a social media policy: Social media is not a fad any more. It’s time to stop experimenting and start managing your social media strategy. Create a policy around social media, even if you’re only a one-person operation. Your social media policy should include your objectives for each site and any rules you have around posts, articles, pictures, etc. Creating this policy will eliminate employee confusion, problems and PR and potential digital reputation management nightmares. Courtesy of American Express Small Business Open Forum

4. Keep all documents.
When it comes to your taxes, it’s a good idea to be a pack rat. You’ll have peace of mind knowing you can produce any document at anytime, no matter what questions may come up. Always organize and carefully file away:

Credit card bills and receipts
Old checkbooks
Bills and invoices
Mileage logs and documentations
Canceled checks or proofs of payment (VERY important)
Any evidence that supports deductions and credit claims on your tax returns
Courtesy of ESB Journal

5. Put all agreements in writing.

The laws of your state require you to put some contracts and agreements in writing:
Contracts that will last longer than a year.
Contracts that involve the sale of goods worth $500 or more.
Contracts that transfer the ownership of copyrights or real estate.
Even if not legally required, it's wise to put almost everything in writing, because oral agreements can be difficult or impossible to prove. This includes leases or rental agreements, storage agreements, contracts for services (such as consulting or electrical work), purchase orders or contracts for goods worth more than a couple hundred dollars, offer letters of employment, and employment policies. Get in the habit of getting and giving receipts for all goods, services, and deposits, regardless of how much. Courtesy of Yahoo! Small Business

As you can see, I have pulled one tip from each of these sites. I would encourage you to go back and read each of these articles. They contain a lot of great information for business owners. Whether you're just starting out or you're a seasoned business owner, there are some great tips in these articles that will help you make your business more successful and profitable.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Is It Spring Yet?

Spring countdown banner

Happy New Year to all of our readers! We hope that 2010 will be a great year for you, your family, and your business!

Spring is coming! For many of us throughout the US right now, it seems like spring is far, far away. As we battle below freezing temperatures, snow, ice and treacherous conditions all over the place, it's hard to believe that the first day of spring is only 68 days away.

I'm ready for it now! Are you?

As spring continues to creep closer, it's time to start thinking about a multitude of things related to your concessions business.

Are your permits all in order? Necessary insurances in place?

Is your equipment ready to go? Do you need to order replacement parts now?

Inventory...what's needed to start your season?

Is your stand all cleaned up and ready to go?

Are your prices still current and relevant for your stand?

What about your menu? Are you going to add or take away any items this season?

If you're adding new items, have you practiced making them so their preparation will not delay your normal operations?

Staffing...are you going to need additional workers? If so, when are you going to start training them?

These are only a few of the questions that need to be thought through and addressed. Throughout the months of January and February, we plan to dive into many of these questions (and more) and provide some good, solid answers for you based on our experiences.

We hope that you'll find this information helpful!