Many kids spend their summer days running down the ice cream truck, but a pair of local pre-teen siblings are running a mobile frozen-treat business of their own.
Twelve-year-old Jaden Wheeler and his 11-year-old sister, Amaya, are capitalizing off the city's scorching summer heat with their Kool Kidz Sno Konez business. The youngsters decided to launch the business when they were unsuccessful persuading their mom to purchase toys and video games.
"We were thinking about something that everybody would need during the summertime," Jaden said. "We thought about snow cones, because they're so good and cold."
After securing a blender and a handful of flavor syrups, the duo, both students at Power Center Academy, launched Kool Kidz Sno Konez in 2011. They sold the frozen treats from a card table set up in their front yard. Two years later, they've turned the neighborhood endeavor into a full-fledged mobile business with their Kool Kidz Karavan.
"I bought them a food truck off Craigslist," said Katrina Robinson, mother of the young entrepreneurs. "We had it outfitted with sinks, electricity, an upright freezer, refrigerator, hot-dog machine, snow-cone machine, nacho warmer, and a sound system."
Customers can choose from more than 20 flavors, including OMG Orange, Gimme Sum Grape, Marga-RRRRRR-ita, Razzle Dazzle Raspberry, and I <3 Pink Lemonade. Customers have the option to mix three flavors in one snow cone, have them topped with whipped cream, or have them stuffed with ice cream.
The duo also sells other creatively named items, such as Hot Diggity Dawgs, Not Yo Nachos, and What's the Dill Pickles. Chili and cheese are available as toppings for the nachos and hot dogs.
Every Friday and Saturday, Robinson takes the kids and their mobile truck to various neighborhoods and parks in locations ranging from downtown to Shelby Farms. They've made as much as $550 in one day and estimate to have served more than 500 customers — the majority of them adults — since going mobile.
Jaden said his favorite snow cone is Say Aaaaah Apple mixed with Gimme Sum Grape, while Amaya prefers Marga-RRRRRR-ita mixed with I <3 Pink Lemonade and Green Apple.
Their mother, on the other hand, favors different flavors.
"My favorite is the Barack O'Bubblegum," Robinson said. "And POW! Pina Colada and Ch-ch-ch-ch-Cherry. I like them all."
From their early days selling the snow cones in their own community to providing them throughout the city, the siblings said the experience has been great.
"I want people to get happiness from our snow cones," Amaya said. "I say happiness because people, they get hot, so when they're hot, they can get a snow cone and that makes them happy again. Because when they're hot, they're sad."
Jaden wants other kids to view Kool Kidz Sno Konez as inspiration.
"I love being self-employed," Jaden said. "I want kids to get from us that you can be independent. You can do whatever you want. There's always a way to make money. There's always a way to get what you want."