Student’s Park Ridge snow-cone stand could become cool career
Tropical Sno is a temporary summer business in the former Colonial Coffee Shop at 800 Devon Ave. in Park Ridge. Jack McClure, of Burr Ridge, is the operator of Tropical Sno. | Tamara Bell~Sun Times Media
Updated: August 20, 2012 6:13AM
PARK RIDGE — Home for summer vacation, college student Jack McClure decided to get a head start on his post-education career.
Having sampled an array of Hawaiian shaved ice at Tropical Sno in Willow Springs, McClure was inspired to open his own franchise for what has been a hot, snow-cone-worthy summer.
Tropical Sno is now occupying space in the former Colonial Coffee Shop, 800 W. Devon Ave., Park Ridge. McClure expects to remain open until at least early-September before he heads back to Miami University to begin his sophomore year.
McClure, of Burr Ridge, noted that the Tropical Sno in Willow Springs appeared to be quite successful and he learned that anyone can apply to sell the product. According to parent company Pioneer Family Brands, Inc., Tropical Sno is sold in every state in the United States, as well as in more than 30 other countries.
“I thought it would be a good learning experience, plus a good way to earn some money,” McClure, 19, said of his business venture.
Hawaiian shaved ice is essentially another take on the traditional summer snow cone. At Tropical Sno there are 32 different flavors of shaved ice available, from strawberry, lemon and raspberry to combinations that have names like Tiger’s Blood (strawberry and coconut) and Rock’n Roll (grape, blue raspberry and blueberry).
The shop offers three different sizes of shaved ice and strawberry-banana seems to be the most-popular flavor.
McClure, finding the Colonial Coffee Shop vacant and available at a reasonable cost, moved in and opened to the community over Memorial Day weekend.
“It’s been going pretty well so far,” he said, but acknowledged that with the hot summer weather he had anticipated a far larger crowd.
“Not as many people have come out as we would like,” he said.
As an entrepreneur McClure manages three employees and has learned the ins and outs of marketing his product, as well as handling payrolls and daily accounts.
“It helps me with managing all aspects of a business,” he said of the experience.
This is McClure’s first time running a business and he believes it is “potentially” something he would like to do once he finishes college.
“It’s definitely an option I’m considering,” he said.