This is an article done on Tim and Randy in Tri-Cities Journal of Business. The article was done by Elsie Puig and you can find that article here: http://www.tricitiesbusinessnews.com/2015/06/snowie-shaved-ice-cooling-down-tri-cities-for-the-summer/
Tim Bonagofski and his stepfather Randy Mechell didn’t set out to become shaved ice tycoons, it just happened. You could say it was born out of their passion for entertaining and making people happy.
Every Fourth of July, they put on a party and fireworks show for their closest family and friends, which last year totaled about 200 people.
This year they expect even more people to show up to their Bombing Range Road fireworks show.
It’s partly what has made their new business — Snowie Shaved Ice — such a huge success. At last year’s show, they wanted to do something special that everyone could enjoy, so they set out to find a shaved ice makers.
The one they found and set up at the party was really not what they expected. It took way too long to make the treats.
“I was really thinking there has to be something better out there,” said Bonagofski.
Instead of giving up on the dream of the perfect shaved ice, Bonagofski started doing research and stumbled across Snowie Shaved Ice products.
“We just fell in love with the Snowie bus and we scheduled a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah to see it for ourselves,” Bonagofski said. “We thought, ‘Wow, this is special. We need to do that.’ We love the product and everything about the Snowie company. They really do have the best shaved ice maker.”
Mechell agreed and as the two returned with the Snowie bus on our way back from Salt Lake City, the bus caught the attention of everyone they passed.
“We thought, ‘This is going be great,’” Mechelle said.
While still in the first year of operation, the men are already thinking of expanding. They currently have their mobile shaved ice bus and one shaved ice stand in the parking lot of Ace Hardware in Richland. And they may be add a second location soon.
For Bonagofski, what started off as a casual business has turned into his full-time job and he loves every minute of it. He served in the Marine Corp for eight years as a sniper and later became a police officer in Tukwila.
“Last year I decided being a police officer just wasn’t for me,” he said. “I didn’t want to do it anymore.”
So when he stumbled across Snowie, he jumped on the opportunity to open a business he loved and believed in.
“It’s a great business for a wide variety of people — it’s a product that sells itself,” said Bonagofski. “We wanted a way to provide for our family, and we get to interact with a great number of people. And seeing kid’s faces light up…it’s special.”
Mechell, the owner of The Cedar Roof Specialist, has been repairing and cleaning cedar roofs since he was 25 years old. He served in the Washington National Guard during Operation Desert Storm. So the shaved ice business helps put the fun back into work for him.
Snowie Shaved Ice comes in a variety of flavors. A popular one – Tiger’s Blood – is a mix of strawberry and coconut flavors. Other popular flavors include Blue Raspberry, Root Beer, and Cotton Candy. Bonagofski and Mechell are also playing with some all-natural real fruit juice flavors.
“If you taste the cotton candy it messes with your brain because it tastes just like cotton candy, and it melts in your mouth just like it,” said Bonagofski.
The Snowie bus offers ten different flavors, and they let kids pick the ones they want.
“They can put as many flavors as they want, want mix it all up, it may cost us some money but we’d rather have happy customers,” said Bonagofski.
Making customers happy is their favorite part of the business, he added.
You can catch Snowie Shaved Ice at various events this summer, like Hogs and Dog and the Water Follies. They also plan at having a presence at many Tri-Cities’ parks this summer.
The company is also available for birthday parties, weddings or company events.
Snowie’s stand at 103 Keene Road is open from 2 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Snowie bus roams the Tri-Cities area from noon to 9 p.m. daily. Hours are subject to change.
For more information, call 509-554-7577, go to the website at snowieoftricities.com or find the business on Facebook.