6 Steps To Success in Snow Cone & Shaved Ice Business

Snow Cone Business or Shaved Ice Business – How To Start Your Own

Operating A Successful Snow Cone Business or Shaved Ice Business Is Profitable

The Snow Cone Business or Shaved Ice Business can generate huge net income. Obviously you are interested in starting a Snow Cone Business. Otherwise, you would not be reading this article. So, we will not bore you with sentence after sentence of unnecessary chatter. We are going to keep it short and simple.

You can choose either a permanent location or a mobile unit. However, after more than 30 years in the business We have found permanent locations to be more profitable and easier to operate. By the way, many independent snow cone stands perform better than franchises.

Now, a word about profit. ASTRONOMICAL. That is all that we are going to say about profit right now. We will tell you what the profit margin is later.

6 Steps For Starting A Snow Cone Business All Begin With The Letter ‘G’

1. Getting The Scoop On The Legalities
The first thing you need to do is find out whether or not your city or state will permit you to establish a snow cone stand. Contact city hall, the state tax office and the health department. They will be more than happy to tell you what the legal requirements are for establishing a snow cone business. The fee that the health department and the tax office charge for snow cone stands is minimal in most states. It would be wise to start with a telephone call and simply ask for information.

2. Getting Started
Gather snow cone business intelligence by visiting various snow cone stands with pad and pen in hand and maybe a camera. Note things such as location, volume of business, size of building, menu, cup size and price, business hours, number of employees, arrangement of equipment etc. Compare these stands and try to determine which ones get more business and why they get more business. This information will be valuable as you plan and establish your own business. If you have a friend or relative who operates a successful snow cone business you should ask them for advice. Successful people can help you become successful. Your geographical area will determine the length of the snow cone season. Some snow cone stands are open all year long.

3. Getting A Location
Without a doubt this is the most important step of all! Even if you complete all of the other steps perfectly the business venture will fail if you don’t get this one right. The most successful snow cone stands get a combination of pedestrian traffic, bicycle traffic and automobile traffic. If you want your business to perform at the maximum of its potential, it must be located in an area that is conducive to these thee types of traffic. A location on the corner of two intersecting highways or busy streets with a nearby neighborhood is an excellent choice. This is the cream of the crop location, so to speak. Try to find a location with an existing building. Almost any shape or form of building can be used for a snow cone stand. However, the location must be easily accessible and It must have lots of parking space. Although you can do very well without it, a drive thru will increase the volume of business. And remember, it is better to have a building that is too big than to have a building that is too small.Don’t be discouraged if you can’t get the perfect location because there are other locations that can be very lucrative. Do your homework and take note of successful snow cone stands that are doing very well in their locations.

4. Getting Equipment
Once the location is secured it’s time to round up some equipment. First of all, decide whether you want to invest in used or new equipment. Don’t half-step when you choose an Ice Shaver because the quality of the shaved ice determines the quality of the snow cone. The Snowie Ice Shaver is hard to beat. It is available at Ralph’s SnoBall Supply. Here is a list of equipment you will need for your snow cone stand:

1. Cash Register (optional) – A money drawer or box may be used instead.
2. Ice Maker (optional) – Ice may be available locally.
3. Refrigerator (optional) – For perishable items such as cream topping. (can be kept on ice)
4. Freezer (must have) – Preferably frost free for storing ice.
5. Ice Shaver (must have) – Choose one that produces soft fluffy ice.

5. Getting Products And Supplies
This may be the last step but it is by no means the least. Superb flavors are just as important as soft fluffy ice and one won’t work well without the other. You must have fine shaved ice and excellent flavors to produce snow cones that will sell. And another thing, the more flavors you have the more snow cones you will sell. Some customers will wan to try all the flavors. The easy route is to purchase ready to use syrup. However, you can purchase concentrate and make your own syrup. Having said that, we think Ralph’s SnoBall Supply, Inc.http://www.snowballsupply.com is the best place to purchase products and supplies. You can get discounts on most items.

Here’s a list of products and supplies needed:

1. Snow Cone Syrup or Snow Cone Concentrate
2. Mixing Container – for making syrup
3. Long Handle Spoon or Paddle – for stirring
4. Preservatives – for extending shelf life of snow cone syrup
5. Cups – use several different sizes – small, medium and large
6. Spoonstraws
7. Pour Bottles or Pump Jugs – for dispensing snow cone syrup

6. Getting Customers
Snow Cone Stands attracts people almost like a magnet attracts metal. Just display your open sign and people will come. However. I recommend putting flyers on the windshields of cars and in the mail boxes of homes. We did that when We opened our first snow cone stand over 30 years ago. We have not spent another penny on advertising since then. Yet, the volume of the business has grown every single year. Warning! Be prepared to handle an onslaught of customers soon after you open.

Critical Snow Cone Questions Answered

What are the top 10 flavors?

Listed in alphabetical order:
Banana, Bubblegum, Cherry, Coconut, Grape, Green Apple, Ice Cream, Pina Colada, Tiger’s Blood and Strawberry.

How do you make snow cone syrup using concentrate?

Mixing instructions for Ralph’s SnoBall Supply concentrate.
1. Shake the concentrate well before using.
2. Use 1 oz. of concentrate to make 1 quart or 4 oz. to make 1 gallon.
3. Fill the container with simple syrup.
4. Cap the container and shake well.

How many snow cones will 1 pint, 1 quart and 1 gallon of snow cone syrup make?

The following answer is based on using 1 1/2 oz. of snow cone syrup per 6 oz cup of shaved ice. You can do the math to figure a different size cup or a different amount of snow cone syrup per cup.

1 pint of snow cone syrup makes 10 snow cones
1 quart of snow cone syrup makes 20 snow cones
1 gallon of snow cone syrup makes 80 snow cones

Can I make money in the snow cone business?

Absolutely! The profit margin of snow cones is very high. An 8 oz. snow cone sells for about $1.50 and about $1.35 of that is profit.

Visit our FAQ page To Get Answers To More Questions 

What are you waiting for? Get busy and start your own Snow Cone Business!!!


From A Satisfied Customer!


To whom it may concern,Just wanted to send a letter of deep appreciation for the existence of your company and your operation practices. I own a small town store in Center Point, IA that sells Unique gifts price and also contains a concession area. We are opening soon so have began the task of searching for vendors to fulfill our needs. Much to our surprise this has been a daunting task.
I have searched for hours on the internet, just to find a company that could supply snoball supplies at a reasonable price and did find many with one exception, shipping! I’ve seen many with quart bottles as low as $4.88, how ever shipping cost ranged from $30.00 to well over $100.00 just for regular ground.
Imagine the frustration of having to pay shipping cost as much as the product order. It’s like paying employee taxes equal to the tax taken from their pay! Then I stumble upon Ralph’s snowball supply and become an instant customer for the following reasons:Site layout. Your site is easy to navigate and stays focused on one product.Your offer of free shipping on package deals places your company well above the rest in our opinion!The product review and detail all the way down to the required nutritional value of the product caused me to proudly order decals to display in my store.The over all care you have for your customers.
As our establishment presses on to to provide fair value to our customers we will defiantly show our continuous support of Ralph’s and endeavor to have a long relationship with your company. Thank you for your time and business practices.

Sincerely, Robert Amos owner of Unique Gifts Emporium


Ralph’s SnoBall Supply Inc. http://www.snowballsupply.com/

Snow cones During The Amercian Industrial Revolution

Did you know?

In the 1850s the American Industrial Revolution made ice commercially available. Ice houses in New York would commonly sell ice to places like Florida. To transport the ice to Florida, the ice houses would send a wagon with a huge block of ice south. The route to Florida would pass right through Baltimore. In Baltimore, children would run up to the wagon and ask for a small scraping of ice. Before long, mothers started to make flavoring in anticipation of their child receiving some ice. The first flavor these mothers made was a current Baltimore favorite: egg custard. Egg custard was an easy flavor to make as all that was in it was eggs, vanilla and sugar.

Snow cones sold in theatres during the 1870’s

Did You Know?

Old Time Cane Sugar Snow Cone Syrup

By the 1870s, the snowball’s popularity had risen to the degree that in the warm summer months, theaters would sell snowballs to keep their patrons cool. Because of this association with the theater, snowballs were thought of as an upper-class commodity. Signs in theaters instructing patrons to finish their snowballs before coming in to the second act are the earliest tangible evidence of snowballs. In the theaters in Baltimore during the time hand shavers were used to shave the ice. Around the city, snowballs were served on newspaper, but in the classy theaters, butchers’ boats were used. In the 1890s, many people started to invent easier ways for snowballs to be made. In that decade, six patents for electric ice shavers were filed.

Would love for modern theaters to bring this back!

“Hard Times Sundae” Snow Cones In World War II & Great Depression

During the Great Depression and World War II, snowballs came to be available outside of Baltimore. As snowballs were so cheap, they were one of the few treats that people could afford. This inexpensiveness earned snowballs the nicknames “Hard Times Sundae” and “Penny Sundae”. People in need of a job would sell snowballs as it required little overhead. The treat became more popular during World War II, when all available ice cream was sent to soldiers, creating a need for an icy treat. This new found lack of competition helped snowballs became popular across the country

Snow Cone History From Origin To Present Day

A snow cone is a dessert item usually made of compacted shaved ice flavored with a brightly colored sugary syrup, usually fruit-flavored. Variations include the “stuffed” snow cone, which has a layer of soft-serve vanilla ice cream inside. Some are served with a spoon, and some are meant to be eaten with the hands like an ice cream cone.

Snow Cone History 
Samuel Bert of Dallas sold snow cones at the State Fair of Texas in 1919, and he invented a snow cone-making machine in 1920. Bert was a fixture at the State Fair, selling his snow cones there (and selling his machines world-wide) until his death in 1984.

In 1934, inventor Ernest Hansen patented the first known “ice block shaver” in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was inspired to create a more refined and hygienic version of the popular Italian ice sold from push-carts in the city. His wife Mary created many flavors of fresh syrups to flavor his finely shaved artificial “snow”. “Sno balls” have been popular in New Orleans ever since. Hansen continued work at the original Hansen’s Sno-Bliz in Uptown New Orleans on Tchoupitoulas Street through 2005, although his granddaughter, Ashley Hansen, has taken over much of the workload. Mr. Hansen died in late 2005, shortly after Hurricane Katrina and Mrs. Hansen died in March 2006.

There are differences between a New Orleans “Sno Ball” and a “Snow Cone.” While a Snow Cone consists of hard, crunchy, shaved ice and limited amounts of syrup, Sno Balls are made from a very fine powdered ice about the same consistency of actual snow and are drowned in syrup. It is custom to eat with a straw and a spoon.

Usually, the snow cones are sold at stadiums and coliseums, and by ice cream vans or by car peddlers at parks. In New Orleans, there are “sno ball stands” located in neighborhoods throughout the city.
Snow cones are crushed either by hand or with specialized ice-crushing machines.

Names and variations
In the United States, snow cones are produced mostly as a ball-shaped treat. In Baltimore and New Orleans, they are called snowballs instead of snow cones.

In Puerto Rico and many Puerto Rican neighborhoods, they are named “piragua”, because they are made in pyramid shapes and agua means water in Spanish. Most Puerto Rican snow cone vendors use street snow cone carts instead of fixed stands or kiosks. During the summer months in Puerto Rican neighborhoods, especially in New York and Philadelphia, “piragua” carts are often found on the streets and attract many customers. In Hawaii, snow cones are called “shave ice” and are sold in cone-shaped paper cups. “Rainbow”, a popular flavor, consists of three different colors of syrup chosen usually for their color rather than their taste compatibility. The ice is often shaved finer than with other snow cones such that the syrup colors are retained longer, providing for a better presentation. Commonly, a scoop of vanilla ice cream is first added to the bottom of the cup.

In Mexico and the adjacent Texas border region, snow cones are named raspados (or raspas for short), because the word raspar means “scrape”; hence the name raspado could be translated “scraped ice.”
In the Dominican Republic and many Dominican neighborhoods, snow cones are called “frío frío”. “Frío” is the word for “cold” and is thus named for the cold chills one gets while eating it.

The dessert ice kachang served in Malaysia and Singapore is another form of shaved ice. Ice kachang originally was served with red beans but now includes various fruits and other sweet toppings.

Snow cones are sometimes confused with “Italian ices” or “water ices”, but water-ice purists distinguish between the two: snow cones are generally flavored after production, at the point of sale, whereas water ices are flavored as the ice is made. In Japan they are known as Kakigori.

In Venezuela they are called Cepillados and are topped with condensed milk.

In India they are called ‘Juski’.

Most of the time a snow cone (or sno-cone) is a crunchier ice in which the flavoring sinks to the bottom. A snow ball means that the ice is fluffier and the flavoring somewhat soaks in. Furthermore, in most cases snow cones are made in advance. Snow balls are made in front of the waiting customer or customers. Snow Cone History is indead interesting.

American Psychological Association (APA):

Snow_cone. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved December 05, 2007, from Reference.com website: http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Snow_cone

Chicago Manual Style (CMS):

Snow_cone. Reference.com. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Snow_cone (accessed: December 05, 2007).

Modern Language Association (MLA):

“Snow_cone.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 05 Dec. 2007. <Reference.com http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Snow_cone>.

Shaved Ice Flower Cups Are Hot!

Snow Cones Served In Shaved Ice Flower Cups Is The New Trend

What Is A Shaved Ice Flower Cup?
A Shaved Ice Flower Cup is a plastic or biodegradable cup that is used to serve snow cones and other shaved ice deserts. The rim of the cup is shaped somewhat like a flower. The body is tapered and it has a flat bottom. It comes in various sizes and colors. The biodegradable flower is clear.

All About Shaved Ice Flower Cups
The Flower Cup is a relative new-comer to the snow cone shaved ice industry.  Amazingly, Flower Cups hit the ground running, so to speak and has shown no sign of slowing down.  Why has the Flower Cup become so popular, so fast?

Well, Flower Cups popularity is due to several things. First of all, the shape is beautiful and functional. Drips and spills are less likely and the flat bottom allows the cup to stand alone. Secondly, Flower Cups are appealing because they are available in three convient sizes and seven brilliant colors. The three convenient sizes are small medium and large. The seven brilliant colors are red, orange, yellow, blue, green, purple and pink. Last but not least, snow cones and shaved ice treats served in Flower Cups fetch fifty cents to a dollar more per cup than  when sold in styrofoam cups or paper cone cups.

Shaved Ice Star Cups are also available. They are basically the same as Flower Cups but shaped like a star. It is available in the six ounce size only and a color choice of blue, yellow, orange and red.

Clear Biodegradable Shaved Ice Flower Cups and Star Cups are available for those of us who are concerned about plastic pollution of our planet.Biodegradable Flower Cups and Star Cups are Eco-Friendly.  They are made from PLA (polylactic acid), a plastic-like material  that is made from the renewable plant resource corn. The cups are 100 percent biodegradable and compostable. Each cup is marked with the recycle symbol PLA Number 7. It is available in either small or medium size. The biodegradable Star Cups are available in the six ounce size only. Shaved Ice Flower Cups and Star Cups are not suitable for hot beverages due to the organic nature of the plastic-like material.

Where Can I Find Shaved Ice Flower Cups?
All of the Flower Cups and Star Cups described in this article can be purchased online. Go To Our Flower Cups Webpage or click the flower cup images below.

Increase Sales And Profit Or Liven Your Next Party Or Event With Lovely Shaved Ice Flower Cups and Star Cups

Ralph’s Soda Mix Is Used To Flavor Carbonated Water

Soda Mix for making carbonated drinks at home is the latest American Craze. Americans love convenience and so do most human beings.  With the relatively new Soda Stream machine, anyone one can produce carbonated sodas at home at an affordable price and in almost any flavor imaginable. It would be a simple choice if all soda mix flavors were created equal but that is hardly ever the case with anything.  In side-by-side tastes tests the taste of our flavors were rated superior!

Excellent taste was our main concern when we were developing our brand of flavors  for carbonation Mix. We knew that if we could produce a really good tasting product it would sell itself, after all, The proof is always in the pudding, as the old saying goes.

We are confident that once you try our brand, not only will you be back for more, you will tell someone about it.  Working with snow cone flavors for many, many years makes us uniquely qualified to produce a great tasting drink mix. Check out Ralph’s Soda Mix.

Shaved Ice Sales Skyrocketed In 2012

Hot Dry Weather Boosts Snow Cone Sales

The winter of 2012 was mild, the spring was warmer than normal and the summer saw sweltering temperatures that were still balmy in the fall. High temperatures coupled with extreme drought conditions led to failed crops and higher food prices. 2012 was the hottest year on record.

On the other hand, these adverse weather conditions were directly responsible for record snow cone sales in 2012. I use to hear my mother say “Something good comes out of every bad thing that happens”  While no one wishes for extreme weather, if you were in the snow cone business in 2012, it should have been financially rewarding.

Some climate experts believe that the adverse weather of 2012 is going to be the new normal. If you’re in the snow cone business, be prepared to be very busy in the coming years. Add a few new snow cone syrup flavors. Customers are always looking for interesting new snow cone flavors. More flavors translate into increased sales. Snow Cone Profit Potential Is High and rags to riches stories are not uncommon.