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Small Biz Spotlight: SnoWhat Snoballs in Louisville, KY

SnoWhat Snoballs has become a hit in the Derby City, with their signature snoballs rolling into events around town and winning — for the second year in a row — Yelp’s Countdown to Derby: Lunchtime Food Truck Bourbon Challenge. That Old SnoFashioned with a bourbon candied orange rind and cherry is killer!

This food truck/cart has given a New Orleans treat a distinct Kentucky spin, and we recently chatted with April Boyd, one of the owners, about how SnoWhat started and what they’ve learned along the way.

Why did you decide to start your business? Tell us your backstory.

I’ve always wanted to own my own business, and shaved ice has been my go-to treat since I was a kid. My best friend and business partner, Jessica Bledsoe, moved just outside of New Orleans for a short period in 2010. Snoball stands are everywhere in NOLA, and after trying one, we both knew that we just had to bring snoballs to Louisville. After a few years of planning and saving — and the invaluable Kayla Allinger joining the team — SnoWhat served its first snoball in April 2015.

Why do you love doing business here in Louisville?

Even though Louisville is a “big” city, it feels like a small town and embodies local. All three of us moved from small towns to Louisville for college and never left! It feels like home. There’s a beautiful local community, and it is constantly changing in positive, progressive ways. We love being a part of a city that is so supportive of local businesses.

What’s the most helpful piece of customer feedback you’ve received?

Most of our customers always have suggestions of where we should set up next! We’ve gained our own self-appointed brand ambassadors that have opened doors and taken our business in new directions, such as private events, parties, and weddings.

What’s your advice for other business owners or someone who wants to start a small business?

Get up and start! I have the tendency to overplan and overthink. After Jessica and I purchased the block ice shaver, her husband Adam said, “Well, go make some snoballs!” We jumped in with an event that weekend and haven’t looked back. It’s definitely been a learning experience.

Find mentors! I talk to everyone who is willing to have a conversation with me. Their advice is golden. There’s a certain sense of relief finding out that other businesses have experienced the same struggles we have.

Always take more than you think you’ll need. Have a backup plan ready to go in case of emergencies with important phone numbers handy.

Lastly, it may sound cliche but be prepared for failure. My first test batch of our Watermelon Basil was probably one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever tasted. I kept trying and now have a recipe that our customers love.

Behind every business — like SnoWhat — is a great story. Download the Yelp mobile app to find a great business in your area. Business owners, share your story on your Yelp listing by using the free tools at biz.yelp.com.

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