Introduction to the Shaved Ice Business with Snowie | FTE Episode 072

snowieToday we sit down with Carl Rupp, Founder / Co-Owner and Aaron Rupp, Marketing Director of Snowie Shaved Ice to discuss the tremendous opportunity that exists in the time tested business model of shaved ice.

Snowie has been in the shaved ice business for over 30-years working in the vending and B2B side of the industry. In fact, Carl Rupp started his business with just single shaved ice stand. Overtime, however, Carl would begin to experimenting with and exploring with all aspects of the shaved ice business.

Carl Rupp started by making improvements to the ice machines within his own business and would ultimately manufacture these machines from the ground up. He also began testing different and new flavors of shaved ice that weren’t available elsewhere. Eventually, individuals started to gravitate to Carl through word of mouth requesting help building the equipment for their own businesses. Three decades later, Snowie is behind many of the ice shavers and snow cone businesses you’ll find across the United States and internationally.

Quotes from the Show

When people come to us, we don’t have like an $80,000 – $100,000 vehicle that they need to get into. They can start at any level. – Aaron Rupp, on why you don’t need a large amount of capital to get started in this business. 

Even us. We started with the $100 pop up tent and we went to the farmer’s market or we went to the park. – Carl Rupp on the early days in business and how humble beginnings can turn into bigger and better things. 

Shaved ice is actually a very easy business to be in. But it also requires effort just like anything else in this world. And if people are wiling to get in and work and put forth effort they can do extremely well. – Aaron Rupp, on the characteristics of successful individuals in this area. 

A delicious Snowie snow cone.

A delicious Snowie snow cone.

What You’ll Learn

  •  A brief history of the Snowie Shaved Ice business.
  • The business opportunity that exists in shaved ice and why they’ve chose not to go the franchise route with their brand.
  • The earning potential for snow cones and related businesses.
  • Why the low input cost of ice and syrups can make this such an attractive business model. There is also a long shelf life to syrups that’s not typical in traditional food businesses.
  • Advice on breaking into the shaved ice business in your area.
  • The reasons such a broad range of people get into this business and are successful. From 16 year-old kids to retired people.
  • How one customer was able to pay off their Snowie bus within 4 months and expanded quickly.
  • How a retired police officer was able to launch a successful shaved ice business during his retirement.
  • The benefits of building a business with employees that provides residual income.
  • Some of the variable expenses that exist like napkins, cups, syrup, rent and other items.

Mentioned in the Podcast

Snowie – This is the official website of Snowie. Browse the variety of kiosks, ice shavers, carts, and ice flavors produced by this Salt Lake City based company.

Potential Earnings Calculator – We also recommend checking out the extremely valuable potential earnings calculator at Snowie.com. This tool allows you to quickly estimate how much net revenue you could make after expenses by operating a shaved ice business.

Tony Lamb Interview – A previous related interview with the CEO / Founder of Kona Ice, Tony Lamb.

About Support Staff

Brett Lindenberg is the founder of Food Truck Empire and Food Empire Pro. Brett's mission is help to entrepreneurs start and grow profitable food businesses. Since 2014, Brett has interviewed over 100 entrepreneurs on the Food Empire Pro podcast and written hundreds of blog posts on all aspects of food business. Brett has been quoted in media outlets like Entrepreneur Magazine, CNBC, and The Washington Post.