“Legendary” snowcone stand approved for three more years

Posted Wednesday, Jun. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A snow cone stand in business for almost 30 years was given approval by the Keller City Council to operate for three more years a short distance from its original location.

Snowballs, in business since 1984 at 300 N. Main St., was asked to move to another location after the property was sold to a new owner.

The item passed by a 5-2 vote but was met with reluctance by some council members during a discussion about the future of Keller and temporary vendors.

Council members Bill Dodge and Debbie Bryan opposed.

“I’m really torn between a portable stand versus a brick and mortar. I’ve got to take my hat off to the business owners who invest in Keller, put up permanent structures, pay property tax, and pay sales tax three hundred and sixty five days per year,” Dodge said. “It’s very frustrating for us in the long term to try to develop Old Town Keller and maintain a vision of where we are going in the future.”

Bryan agreed with Dodge and said she wished the applicant would consider a permanent, brick structure.

“I understand it’s been there 30 years, but that’s some of the problem — it’s been there 30 years,” she said. “We need to get more updated, more new looking, more upscale looks to that area if we are trying to rejuvenate it, bring it back and get it up and running.”

Mayor Pat McGrail voted in favor of the item but was also reluctant.

“This is hard. This is something that has been in Keller for many, many years and a lot of people have grown accustomed to it and I know they look forward to going there,” McGrail said. “It’s hard to turn it away, but at the same time, I can understand the concerns because things are changing. Hopefully that center is really going to improve.”

Mayor Pro Tem Tom Cawthra said if it were a new snow cone stand coming into town, he would agree with the more modern approach and look for permanent structures with pitched roofs and longer term commitments.

“Tonight my vote is going to go with the Keller legend,” he said. “The legend speaks for itself.”

Councilman Doug Miller agreed with Cawthra.

“It may not be something that the Council as a whole agrees to ... but this specific use has been in use for 29 years,” Miller said.

Miller said besides the fact there are few businesses in the city that can be tracked back 29 years, the permit is only for a snow cone stand.

“A snow cone stand is a snow cone stand,” he said. “We’re not bringing in a Baylor hospital. It’s a snow cone stand.”

Mary Ann Welborn, Snowballs owner, said she was surprised any reluctance was met with her application.

“I had no idea moving 30 yards was going to be such a challenge,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot.”

Welborn bought the business five years ago as the third owner since it opened.

She said her daughters worked for the second owner for about five years. When it went up for sale, her girls pleaded with her to buy the business.

“It was humbling, they trained me,” she said.

Welborn said the snow cone stand has been a great way for her daughters to learn the ins and outs of owning and operating a business while making money during their high school years.

If all goes well, Welborn expects the business to re-open July 1.

She said she is looking forward to re-opening and selling favorites such as blue coconut and her best seller, “Tiger Blood,” a coconut/strawberry combination. Snowballs also has an expanded sugar-free menu.

“Tiger blood” is also the best seller at The Tiki Hut of Keller, which has locations on South Main Street by Mr. Jim’s Pizza, on Keller Parkway in the Big Lots parking lot and on Golden Triangle at Beach Street.

Owner Cathy Smith started the business at the Main Street location in 2003.

She said Mother Nature is her biggest challenge, with the business closing in the rain and being slow during extreme heat, because people don’t want to get outside.

Smith said the best thing about running a snow cone stand is the people.

“I’m a people person,” she said. “I enjoy chatting with people, getting to know my customers.”

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