Getting iced down… Pelican’s Snowballs the perfect cool down for hot summer days

Published 4:49 pm Monday, June 8, 2020

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While many are trying to figure how to stay cooled off during the hot, summer months since many public pools have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the perfect solution for a quick cool down is not that far away with the opening of Pelican’s Snowballs located next door to Zaxby’s in Elizabethton.
Opened only for a short time, the shaved ice business is off to a great start as it becomes one of over 80 franchised stores now open since the founder, 13-year-old Ansley Johnson, opened the very first store in 2001 naming the store after Louisana’s state bird.
Ansley’s father came on board later and in 2017 the Johnson’s sold their 80 store franchise to Gregg Fatool and Randall Wright and now there are almost 200 stores in 14 states.
The Elizabethton store is owned by Lonnie and Teresa England who also own Pelican’s Snowballs stores in Cleveland, TN, and one in Lake Wiley, South Carolina.
After vacationing in Elizabethton for a number of years due to loving the outdoors, including fishing and hiking, the England’s found a piece of property in the community and now is building a home on that property.
It made only sense when they found the current location to add another store.
“We have been with Pelican’s Snowballs since 2014,” Teresa stated about their involvement. “I think what sets us apart is that you have to have a stationary building.
“You can have a mobile unit after you open up your store and do events, but with this store, the customers know that we are open every day even during the rain no matter what.
“It is a seasonal business so we usually open up March 1st and close sometime in October. Typically Pelican’s has more outdoor seating but this location has indoor seating and we do plan on having outdoor tables as well.”
Offering over 100 flavors such as the typical flavors like orange, cherry, and grape, plus other favorites like bubblegum, peach, black cherry, banana, and many other tasty flavors. The store also offers unique flavors such as dill pickle.
The business stays pretty busy during the summer months and then when school begins, it typically slows down in the early part of the day before picking up once school is dismissed.
“We try to provide a quality product – something that everyone will like and we try to be a family-oriented business where you can bring your family, your grandkids, and grandparents,” Teresa said.
One other benefit of the business is it does provide opportunities for local students who might want to make some money to find employment from high school and college students.
“We will probably have around 10-12 working for us,” stated Teresa. “Since we are a seasonal business, there is a lot of turnover. It’s not a career business.
“But for a lot of these kids, it’s their first jobs they ever had so its a good work experience for that and introduces them to the workforce.”
The business, unfortunately, had to open during a trying time with the COVID-19 and when entering to place orders, customers will be greeted by servers wearing face masks with a plexiglass petition when placing orders.
England said they are following the CDC recommendations and local guidelines for sanitizing and they have the floor marked so their customers can social distance.
She further said that each store depending on location has different sets of guidelines to follow.
“Some of our customers want to wear masks when they come in and some don’t but we are following the guidelines,” Teresa commented.
The Englands said that even though there are over 100 flavors they are always looking to add more.
“Even though we have over 100 flavors, we add new products and when people come in they are overwhelmed,” Teresa said with a smile. “Each store has what we call underground flavors where we let our employees come up with a combination of flavors and we have special names for them like Angry Bird, Heaven’s Special, or Peanut Butter Captain Crunch so we are always coming up with new flavors.”
Lonnie said that after the first year, they normally offer a concession trailer saying, “We supply school systems and Vacation Bible Schools and other events out in the field that we will be doing as well.”
The employees are so far having a great, fun time with the new business and serving their friends.
“It’s really exciting,” said Marquis Bush. ” It’s something new and something to do here in town.”
Jared Erwin went on to add the excitement has carried over to the customers saying, “It’s been really busy in the past week and a half and a lot of our friends and people we know have come in and gotten snowballs like every day.”
The team has been taking to social media and word of mouth is drawing new customers.
“There has been over like 200 shares on Facebook somewhere I saw about our snowballs,” Macy Street chimed in.
Bush, Erwin, Street, McKinley Griffey, Torrie Roberts, Kailey Peters, and Ashley Lyons make up the current team for the Englands.
They all stated that Wedding Cake has been the most popular by far and each was asked what their favorites were.
Tiger’s Blood, Polar Punch, Pineapple, Strawberry Daiquiri, Jamaican Me Happy, and Cotton Candy were the favorites of the employees, but one can’t beat the Triple Bubblegum either.
Store hours are Monday through Saturday 12 Noon to 9 PM and Sunday from 2 pm to 9 pm.

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