THE SNOW CONE STAND
My dad was a salesman, so we moved a lot. I kind of liked relocating; getting a new house, a new bedroom, and new friends…experiencing new adventures.
One of my favorite moves happened in the middle of my third grade year. We relocated to a suburb of St. Louis. The house my parents bought was in a new development. The area was crawling with kids. Across the street were identical twin boys, my age. (I was the only kid at school who could identify which one was Bob and which was Bill.) They had a younger brother, Brad, who collected his own boogers in a jar, just in case he got hungry for a booger.
Adjacent to the twins was a family with four girls. They all had names that started with the letter A. (Maybe alliteration was a thing in that neighborhood.) That family was tons of fun! I think both of their parents worked and the oldest daughter, Allison, was in charge. She was just one year older than me, but she seemed so much older than the rest of us. I remember one time the girls invited me inside for a snack. Their cupboard was bare, so Allison filled teacups with water and gave us each a napkin with a dog biscuit on it. It wasn’t good, like an actual biscuit, but it wasn’t terrible either.
It was during the four years we lived in this neighborhood that I was obsessed with becoming a successful entrepreneur. My first business scheme involved creating and selling necklaces, bracelets, and crowns I made by tying clover flowers together. That business didn’t really take off. My merchandise kept dying before I could get anyone to buy it. Next I created homes for pet turtles and frogs; shoe boxes filled with mud and grass. We had a lot of turtles and frogs in the area. The problem with that business, I was the only kid who caught reptiles and amphibians and kept them as pets. I needed merchandise with a broader appeal.
My “ah-ha” moment happened when my fourth grade teacher taught us how to make origami paper cups. It was the best invention ever. She let us fill them with water from the drinking fountain and drink from them. When the final bell rang, I ran home from school and set up a folding table in front of my driveway. On it I placed my Snoopy Snow Cone Maker, a pot filled with ice cubes, a pitcher of cherry Kool-aid, and a stack of freshly folded origami paper cups. If you have ever made a snow cone with a Snoopy Snow Cone Maker, you know it takes a lot of muscle power to turn the crank; about ten minutes to grind up enough ice for one tiny snow cone. I was charging ten cents per cone; about a penny for every fifty cranks. The line was getting long. My arm was getting sore. The ice in the pot was melting rapidly. The kids who had purchased the snow cones were red and sticky. The origami cups were collapsing before the consumers could consume.
I think I made a dollar that day, but I had to share the money with my neighbors, Alana and Bob, because they helped me. I got yelled at by some parents who were mad about their kids’ Kool-aid stained hands and clothing. I got yelled at by my dad who was tired after a long day at work and wanted to park in his garage that was blocked by a snow cone stand. And to this day, my mom still yells at me because I accidentally threw out her best cooking pot when I cleaned up the mess.
MAKE ORIGAMI PAPER CUPS
Here it is, the ORIGAMI CUP pattern and template. I hope it inspires a memorable business venture for an innovative entrepreneur.