Hamilton Economic Development

Entrepreneurs find sweet spot for cold treat venture

Meg Makins, left,and Lindsay Churchman of Sweet Ice Snow Cones are pictured surrounded by fresh fruit at Bennett's where they buy much of their ingredients.Take some sweet ice, a tweet or two, some titters, and before you know it, two young Hamilton entrepreneurs have managed to raise $2,450 out of the $4,000 they need for their business — and they still have 21 days to go until their fundraising deadline.

Meg Makins and Lindsay Churchman, both 25, launched their Sweet Ice snow cone business last summer as a bit of a lark. The pair figured it would satisfy their craving for a creative outlet and support Art Crawl, other businesses, festivals, and just be plain fun to do.

Both already have full-time day jobs — Makins at a nonprofit, and Churchman as a mortgage broker.

They make snow cones the old-fashioned way by using local produce (Bennett’s in Ancaster is a frequent stop) to make their own syrups. They’re served in a paper cup.

Makins and Churchman would show up at a wedding or event, set up the snow cone maker and bottles of syrup, and heat up the party with some ice.

Then things started to snowball.

First of all, there was the donation of a 1962 Shasta camping trailer, a piece of equipment they longed for but never thought would appear.

It needed a good $4,000 in renovations, but while the first year was a good one (they broke even) it wasn’t good enough to spend thousands on a trailer and a dream.

The two decided to try to raise capital by resorting to bloggers. They call it Operation Shasta.

About a week ago, they launched an online fundraising campaign to pay for the Shasta’s renovation and take their business on the road.

The city is still scratching its head over how to licence their kind of business model, but the pair are pretty good-natured about it, said Churchman.

“We’re working really closely with the city to get our licensing straightened out,” she said.

Meanwhile, Makins has put together a cute little video — warning content contains giggling — and started tweeting.

Three weeks to go and they’re 60 per cent toward their goal.

“We are really surprised,” she said. “We understand if people can’t support us financially, so we just asked for them to talk about it. We feel very supported.”

Their venture was nominated in the packed Rookie of the Year category at the Tourism Hamilton awards. There were 12 nominees and fellow mobile food startup Gorilla Cheese took the prize.

In addition to tweeting and Facebook posts, the pair will also be participating in this month’s Art Crawl, with an after-party event at The Baltimore House on King William Street on Friday, April 13.

“People can come and either cry with us because we’re not close to our target or we can cheer together because we made it,” said Makins.

This article is for personal use only courtesy of TheSpec.com – a division of Metroland Media Group Ltd.




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