Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sno Shack expands to six locations, plans rebranding

Sno Shack will have six locations in the Idaho Falls area this summer.
Aside from local golfers, nobody could be more pleased by the mild spring weather than Preston Walker, now in his eighth year of selling shaved ice in the Idaho Falls area.

Walker started Sno Shack -- which he plans to rebrand this summer as SnOgo -- while he was in college. "It did better than we thought it would," he said. "We found a little niche."

Walker said he has seen other shaved ice businesses come and go, but what's kept him in business is the consistency of his product and speed of service. "I harp on the texture of the ice," he said. "It has to be soft but not mushy. We hate to tell anyone we're out of flavors. If our customers are happy, they keep coming back."

The first summer, Sno Shack had one location. This year there will be six, with two new stands, both in Ammon -- one at the northeast corner of Hitt and Sunnyside, the other on 17th Street next to Ace Hardware.

Walker will have nearly 45 part-time employees this summer, the majority of them high school- and college-age girls.

Sno Shack offers nearly 80 flavors, plus toppings that include cream from Reed's Dairy. Walker guessed that he will be mixing at least 75 gallons of sugar water a week between now and mid-September, when they typically shut down.

"It's a lot of work, all day, every day," he said. "But we treat it like a real business. We would like to perfect it to the point where we can franchise it."

Sno Shack is open Monday through Thursday from 2 to 9 p.m., Friday from 2 to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Once the school year is over, weekday hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. This is also the first year they will be taking credit cards.