Here is the Snowie Story for those that haven’t heard it. This is just an example post, votes for this submission will not count.[hr]
From By Carnival Magazine:
Gordon Rupp and his older brother Carl Rupp, who Gordon says was “the genius behind this,” started Snowie about thirteen years ao. While eating dinner, the two brothers decided to start a company and named it Snowie, a shaved ice company that manufactures everything from the kiosks to carts, flavors and anything that it takes to get involved in the shaved ice industry. Their goal was to sell their products to the public and to people who want to supplement their income or possibly do it full time. Most of their customers are parents who want to show their children the value of owning a business and people who just want to make extra income in an easy way with a small investment.
The Rupps grew up on a farm near the small town of Taylorsville, Utah just outside of Salt Lake City. With a barn in the back yard that was full of tools and equipment, their Dad always had projects for the boys. Instead of buying a new motorcycle, their Dad would buy a used one that needed to be repaired, thereby, teaching them how to “fix things.”
During his college years Gordon invented a bicycle rack for cars. After doing that for many years and already having the manufacturing equipment in his shop, it was easy to get into the shaved ice business. Snowie became such a big success that he and Carl eventually devoted all of their time to the shaved ice business.
Gordon says that one of the reason for their success is that they offer a turnkey operation. Some of their competitors don’t offer kiosks, carts, or flavors while the Rupps offer over one hundred flavors. “For $20,000, we literally offer everything that is needed to get into the shaved ice business,” says Gordon.
The Rupps have a large warehouse in Salt Lake City where they manufacture everything. “We weld, we print all of the details for the buildings, we vacuum form the plastic parts on the shavers, we create our own molds for the fiberglass parts. We’re very hands on,” says Gordon, adding, “we make everything except the t-shirts.”
They offer a mobile unit called the Snowie Bus that can travel anywhere on its own. The Snowie Bus that the Rupps exhibited at the IISF trade show took about two years to design and make. Currently, they are working on six busses that are already sold. For the mobile unit, the cost begins at $30,000 and that’s just the shell of the bus, which is actually a used mini Astrovan. The additional costs depend on whether the customer wants to sell shaved ice or ice cream. They come in many colors but yellow seems to be the color of choice.
They realized that the carnival industry was a potential business gold mine after they setup at their local fair.
As for the future, the Rupp brothers would like to see a Snowie in every community. The bad economy presents a opportunity for Snowie to help people get back on their feet, sometimes making three or four hundred dollars a day.
Self Made in America Contest:
Carl Rupp, part owner of Snowie Shaved Ice with his brother Gordon Rupp, has won “The Lincoln Self Made In America Contest” Sponsored by Inc Magazine and the History Channel.
A few months back we noticed a contest being posted by the before mentioned sponsors and decided to put Carl’s story up for review. They limited us to 200 words, which wasn’t easy by any stretch, and we then submitted the story up for reader review. The 200 word essay can be found by clicking on the following link:
We at Snowie are very proud of Carl and the business that He and Gordon have created. Congratulations on a win that is very much deserved.
Carl Rupp lost it all when his drug addiction landed him in prison. Well, almost everything–he never lost his determination to be a successful entrepreneur. Meet the winner of Inc.com and The History Channel’s Self Made in America contest.
When Carl Rupp tells budding young entrepreneurs to keep at it, even after a major setback, he speaks with some authority.
In the late 1970s, Rupp, a Salt Lake City teenager at the time, launched a wildly successful snow cone business, only to lose it all 15 years later to drug addiction. After a bitter divorce, a year in prison, and buried in debt, Rupp cleaned up and began rebuilding his life. Last year, Snowie, a second snow cone business he and his brother started from scratch, grossed over $2 million.
“There are a lot of things that will knock the wind out of your sails,” Rupp says. “But you just have to keep plugging away.”
Rupp shared his entrepreneurial story in the first Self-Made in America contest, sponsored by Inc.com and The History Channel. Entrants were asked to recount their start-up or career-building stories in 300 words or less, illustrating a determination to overcome obstacles and succeed in reaching goals. More than 800 entries were received.
Like many great ideas, Sno Shack, Rupp’s initial venture, started with a simple question. On a hot summer day back in 1979 in St. Louis, Mo., Rupp, a young Mormon missionary who was the fourth oldest of seven brothers and a younger sister, came across a crowd lined up at an outdoor snow cone stand. “Why would anyone line up for a snow cone?” he asked dismissively. After hours of pounding the hot pavement all day, he tried one and soon had his answer. Rupp immediately went back to Salt Lake City and built his first shack out of old cedar boards.
For the first few years, Rupp not only built the shacks and ice shaver machines himself, he often manned them, too. But business, as they say, was snowballing. By the time he’d setup 13 outlets around town and hired a crew of local teens as attendants, things were getting unmanageable, he says. Luckily, by then, others were approaching him with offers to buy a single shack and shaver to run it themselves.
“It went from me thinking I was going to own and operated a ton of shacks, to me setting folks up to run their own business,” Rupp recalls.
At its peak, Rupp had rolled out some 150 shacks, all with his custom-built shavers and stacks of containers with several dozen home-made flavors–from blue raspberry and cotton candy to a sweet red concoction called Tiger’s Blood, all developed in his own experimental kitchen. At about the same time, Rupp–a born tinkerer–developed carpal tunnel syndrome building a new house for his wife and kids. Eventually, he got hooked on the pain killers prescribed by his doctor. When those ran out, he turned to heroin. “I started playing with it and played with it too much,” he now says.
After failing to complete a court-appointed stint in rehab, Rupp was sentenced to a year in prison. There, he says, he had plenty of time to reflect on everything he’d lost: “I woke up one morning and thought ‘hey, I remember Carl, I liked him and want him back.”
In 1996, with his time served, Rupp tried working for his now ex-wife back at Sno Shack. When that didn’t work out, he started rebuilding his own business with help from his little brother Gordon–this time calling it Snowie.
Concentrating on special events, like the local weekly farmers’ market and nearby college football games, Rupp and his brother have sold almost 500 shacks–many outfitted with air-conditioning, hot and cold running water, and a retractable roof to load supplies.
Rupp also includes “Tips and Tricks,” a 40-page booklet that walks operators through everything from scouting out locations to getting a business license. “These are the baby steps,” says Rupp. “We do as much as we can to help make it work.”
Today, Rupp’s entrepreneurial advice, which might otherwise sound trite coming from anyone else, resonates with a kind of hard-earned wisdom: “You gotta hang in there and be persistent,” he says. “Don’t get knocked down by a mistake.”