Erin Palashniuk and her family are starting Sweet Mountain Shave Ice, a mobile snack shack that will offer Hawaiian treats to keep the Valley cool this summer.
“We got the idea from when we were in Hawaii,” Ms. Palashniuk said. “We travel a lot when we’re not working. We’ve spent a lot of time in Hawaii over the years and really enjoy eating shave ice.”
Shave ice is finely-scraped ice covered with all sorts of flavours and toppings.
“It’s more of a dessert-type thing than a snow cone,” she said. “The ones that we are going to be making are naturally based and they have fruit on them, so it’s a different kind of a summer treat for people to enjoy.”
Their pina colada offering, for instance, will be topped with coconut cream, coconut shavings and pineapple. The flavours they will serve include coconut, coffee, chai, orange creamsicle and strawberry banana.
Each shave ice can be ordered with ice cream or on its own for a dairy-free treat.
“There are so many people that are allergic to dairy nowadays, and we thought it would be a great option for people,” she said. “On a hot day, there’s nothing like sitting down and having one of those. It’s just really, really refreshing and super tasty.”
They won’t have pop for sale but will serve kombucha and water.
Besides allowing her family to have their fill of their preferred summer treats, Ms. Palashniuk is also looking forward to teaching her children – Hannah (20) and Bryce (13) – how to run the business.
She and her husband Joe own The Gateway Motel in Radium and want to pass on their entrepreneurial skills as Hannah and Bryce take over the shave-ice operation.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to teach them a little bit about running the books and how to keep track of their sales and all those types of things,” she said.
While Hannah has been at school studying nursing, Bryce has been home and immersed in the business.
“He’s been involved helping develop the menu, picking out the (paper) straws and (wooden) spoons, setting up the trailer, getting it all organized and ready to be operational, pricing, all those things,” Ms. Palashniuk said. “They’re going to be running the shave ice business every day.”
Sweet Mountain Shave Ice will be roaming between Cenotaph Park, James Chabot beach and Radium’s Market and Music on Main this summer. They expect to be up and running this week.
The District of Invermere council had concerns with how neighbouring businesses at Cenotaph Park might react to having the mobile vendor springing up near their shops so they asked Ms. Palashniuk to check in with them.
Parking was their only concern, she said, after canvassing the stores.
“They were all in favour of it. They really thought that it would draw more traffic into stores potentially and it would vitalize the downtown core more because having mobile businesses is more of an attraction. People see it and go ‘what’s that?’ and then maybe they’ll go into the store that’s nearby.”
As for the parking situation, councillor Greg Anderson said the mobile trailer is “smaller than you’d think” and won’t take up an entire parking space.
“I think it will add vibrancy to the Cenotaph Park for sure,” he said moments before council voted to allow Sweet Mountain Shave Ice to test out their downtown location for the summer.