The first job I remember having was working a lemonade stand. My cul-de-sac was having a yard sale, and I took my Fisher Price cassette player and microphone out front and sold cold drinks to passersby. My brother and I kept the money in a pencil case, and my mother baked some treats to attract more people.
From the very first sale, my brother and I were hooked on lemonade stands. We got more sophisticated as the years went on with handmade signs and slogans. He was responsible to save up his money in his velcro wallet while I was ready to spend it the minute it landed in our pencil case bank. As I have gotten older and my jobs more nine-to-five-ish, I have always made a point to stop at every lemonade and treat stand that I see. So when I caught wind that a very special family was opening a snow cone stand, I knew that it was time to head their way.
I had been to the Shephards’ home long before I had every officially met them or had one of their incredible snow cones. Last year a close friend of mine housesat for them for a week’s vacation. I packed a bag and holed up in their upstairs room for my own weeklong vacation from my chaotic life in midtown. It seems like heaven fell directly out of the sky and landed in the backyard of the Shephards’. The grass is a deep green, always cool and comfortable to walk through in bare feet, and there seems to be a constant cluster of happy fireflies lighting up at every opportunity.
When I found out that the family had dreamed up a snow cone stand, I was eager to spend many more magical moments retreating to the Shephards’ for a treat. The seven-minute drive down the quiet highway to Boone Road is the perfect way to get into the mental space needed to enjoy how special this place truly is.
The chickens are as free-range as the children, and there’s a good chance you will be greeted by a cluster of them in the front yard. As you pull into the gravel driveway and get a full view of the backyard, you are swept into a space to enjoy this quick soul vacation disguised as a snow cone run.
This recent business venture of the Shephards has them going all over town to events they have been asked to be a part of. Selling snow cones in their front yard is not the norm, but they do so for special occasions like the Homeschool Field Day event that Lisa organized.
This dream has been with Lisa for a long time. She grew up saving her quarters to bike down to The Snowball Stand with her siblings during their summers in Maryland. “It was just what we did,” she told me. “It was a summer thing for everybody.”
When Lisa moved south to go to Harding University in Arizona, she and her sister began asking their peers where they could get Snowballs. No one had any idea what they were talking about. Around the beginning of her senior year, shaved ice came out, but it just wasn’t the same.
Lisa had always wanted to open up a Snowball Stand, but she knew it would have to be done in a way that fit into her family’s diet.“I didn’t want to sell something I would not feed my children,” she explained. “I wanted them to do a lemonade stand, and so I started searching for organic and healthy lemonade flavors. I found an organic snow cone flavor company and ordered a sample pack, and we thought they were awesome.
“I am thrilled and we are up to sixteen flavors,” Lisa continued. “We are getting ready to do some mixing, like orange and vanilla and root beer floats.”
Not only are these treats free of preservations, artificial flavors, and food coloring; they’re also served up by Lisa’s five hard-working kids (there will be six once the little one has grown some) in matching uniforms as colorful as the snow cones themselves. It’s amazing to watch these young entrepreneurs take ownership of the whole process.
A big part of what makes Jackson feel like home to a college-student-turned-resident like myself is getting to support small businesses, not to mention having relationships with many of the families behind them. I have come to understand business ventures like that of the Shepherds as an act of vulnerability and want to celebrate the beauty of diligent folks trying to improve our city. Getting to know the Shephards has made their snow cones all the sweeter for me.
If you are interested in having Organic Snow Cones set up at an event you are hosting, message them on Facebook or call Lisa at 972.754.2211.
Social worker-to-be Mabry Gardner is currently working on her Masters of Social Work at Union University. Her crazy life experiences are outdone only by her gloriously big hair and even bigger laugh. She craves adventure, all things local, and unlimited waffles—but in the mean time, she'll settle for being the real-life Leslie Knope.
Originally from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, photographer Katie Howerton moved to Jackson in 2011 to study Graphic Design and Drawing at Union University. She discovered Our Jackson Home in January 2015 and used it as a guinea pig for her senior design project, creating the first issue of Our Jackson Home: The Magazine. After graduating she was given leadership over Our Jackson Home at theCO, where she now runs the blog, designs the magazine, and coordinates events. She and her husband Jordan live in Midtown and are active members of City Fellowship Baptist Church.
tags Jackson TN, Tennessee, local, local food, local business, business, Organic Snow Cones, organic, sno cone, food, family, family business, Mabry Gardner, Katie Howerton, Lisa Shephard, homeschool, Snowball, kids, children, entrepreneur, Boone Road, Maryland, summer, Harding University, Arizona, lemonade, Women's History Month