Hayden Gasaway joined a 10-year tradition of kids selling shaved ice from the Snow Cone Hut at Broadway Showroom in Marble Falls when he took his first summer job there this year. He only needed a day of training to learn how to shave and sugar the ice, he said.
“I think it’s great — it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “I get to meet a lot of new people.”
The Snow Cone Hut came about because Leslie and Michael Pilley’s daughter Courtney wanted a job when she was 13 years old. She’s now 23 and working in Broadway Showroom as a lighting designer.
“I was just bored in the summer, so I asked for a job and my parents came up with the snow cone trailer,” Courtney said. “I was really shy when I was younger. I didn’t like talking to people who weren’t my family. This helped me grow up and be more social.”
Courtney and her siblings were joined by nieces and nephews and other relatives over the years. Hayden, who is not related, got the job because he asked for it, Leslie Pilley said.
“I have four kids employed this year,” she said.
They are a great-niece, a great-nephew, and two high schoolers, including Gasaway, who is working to pay for a car.
Duties include topping off perfectly shaved ice with flavored syrups, most of which are made by Leslie Pilley. Workers also have to fight the sticky factor.
“I make sure the bottles are topped off and that everything is cleaned up at the end of the day,” Gasaway said. “I help the customers, too. I help them know what a flavor is going to taste like and help them decide on a size.”
Although business is brisk when day camps let out in the afternoon, the job does have some down time. For that, the Snow Cone Hut is equipped with internet and a TV.
When a customer comes, the process begins. Gasaway dons his gloves, takes out a 5-pound square of ice, and clamps it down tight in the shaving machine with a vise so it won’t slip. The hand-shaved ice falls into a cup and is topped off with syrup.
When the parking lot is clear of customers, Gasaway wipes up any drips, puts the ice back in the freezer, and waits in the air-conditioned trailer for the next order.
“It doesn’t take long to get the hang of it,” he said.