Success snowballs for Snowy’s
With temperatures hovering around 90F, Snowy’s snowball stand in Hamilton is a popular place this summer.
Many customers take selfies with their iced treats, then send the photos to social media with the caption ‘look where I am’.
“When it’s hot and sunny, everyone wants a Snowy’s snowball,” owner and manager, Pamela Ingham, said.
A Galaxy Ball snowball with piña colada and ginger beer, is a particular favourite. But if you don’t like that one, there are 23 other flavours to try, including sugar free.
The snowball stand’s location in the city centre was a long held dream of Ms Ingham’s husband, Larry Ingham.
He started the business across the street from his bike shop, City Cycles, on North Street, in 1992. When Snowy’s got bigger it moved to Princess Street.
It then moved to Church Street in 2015, but soon after Mr Ingham developed multiple myeloma, an aggressive cancer that attacks plasma cells in the blood.
Ms Ingham had to close Snowy’s and her own massage therapy business A Therapeutic Touch, for several months to care for Mr Ingham.
He died in August 2016. Today she’s keeping his memory alive by running Snowy’s.
“He taught us so many things over the years,” she said. “Thank goodness I paid attention to the work behind the scenes. He even taught my mother Betty ‘Tiger’ Reid how to change the blades in the machines. He was a machinist by trade, so he knew how to do things that other people wouldn’t know how to do.”
The blades are essential to creating the fluffy snowball, Snowy’s is famous for. The business bills itself as having the fluffiest snowballs in the world.
“Years ago, my husband really begged me to join him and do Snowy’s full time,” Ms Ingham said. “I started off doing just a bit, then I went to part time with them. Then when he got sick I took over. We would be on the phone together, Facetiming.”
Now she runs Snowy’s and A Therapeutic Touch.
“I am still paying off my husband’s medical bills,” she said.
What keeps her going is passion, pure and simple.
“I’m a people person,” she said. “I love seeing the smile on people’s faces. People light up.”
She tries not to focus on what their competition is doing.
“We just do the best we can, and put our whole heart and soul into it,” she said. “That takes a lot of work behind the scenes. I think one of the key things is customer service. We always meet customers with a greeting. We don’t know what they have been through during the day. We enjoy working with them. In the summer there is music playing in Wesley Square and they sit up around us. It is a wholesome, family atmosphere.”
She thinks snowball syrup might run in her veins.
“My family in St George’s ran Reid’s Restaurant,” Ms Ingham said. “My auntie, Sheila Reid, used to make her own syrup back in the day, and my husband used to go down to St George’s and enjoy her snowballs when he was little.” She likes to think that maybe that early experience inspired him to go into snowballs later.
As a small-business owner her biggest challenge is finding the right staff.
“It is seasonal work so it is hard to find someone who will start at the time it starts, because everyone is in school,” she said.
She prefers to hire college students because their schedule better suits Snowy’s.
“I will start working here a bit more when one of my staff leaves to go to the Bermuda College,” she said.
But what about the winter months?
“Snowballs are definitely seasonable,” Ms Ingham said.
She’s now considering changing the business in the winter months to a vegan food stand. At the moment, she is going through the approvals process, and getting a menu together.
Snowy’s is open Sunday to Friday from 11am to 6pm and Wednesday evenings during Harbour Night.
“I really want to thank my staff members who really helped me through some tough times,” she said. “That includes Kaelin Cox, Matthew de Frias, and Jordan DeCosta, my mother, and my niece Tianny Butterfield who helps at Harbour Nights.”
•For more information see Facebook under Snowys Bermuda or call 292-9374.
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