Anyone who has attended a public outdoor event in the North County can attest to the fact that Paradise Shaved Ice seems to be everywhere. The colorful and ubiquitous trailers dole out frozen treats to young and old alike and bring smiles and refreshing coolness to a hot day.
Do not be fooled — though the business model seems easy enough (How hard can it be to sell flavored ice?), if not for the entrepreneurial spirit, indomitable personality and energetic force of business owner Angela Vrettos-Rayher the small company might have fallen by the wayside (Did I mention that she is also a single mom to two teenagers or that she has purple hair?).
The idea of starting a shaved ice business percolated in Vrettos-Rayher’s mind for years but it was through the urging of her daughter, Leah, that the concept came to fruition. Born and raised in Louisiana, Vrettos-Rayher said that sno-ball stands (that’s with shaved ice, opposed to a snow cone with crushed ice) were on every street corner. She brought the idea to the Central Coast and started with her own stand across the street from the Atascadero Sunken Gardens in front of the former ice rink. However, it wasn’t until she decided to take the show on the road did the business really take off.
“I can go where the masses are instead of sitting there for 10-12 hours a day waiting for those people to come to me,” Vrettos-Rayher said.
Through its five years of business, Paradise evolved to include light food services such as tri-tip, pulled pork sandwiches and soft pretzels. The business caters to birthday parties, weddings and company parties where it offers alcohol-infused frozen cocktails along the lines of Margaritas, Pina Coladas and Daiquiris.
The trailers can also be spotted at Atascadero, Templeton and Paso Robles High School sporting events and serves food, hot chocolate and coffee. The business donates 20 percent of proceeds garnered from these events back to the schools.
Vrettos-Rayher makes her product inclusive for people with sensitivities to dye, hi-fructose corn syrup or sugar. Her syrups are homemade without chemicals and are naturally sweetened with Non-GMO sugar or Truvia.
“I love what we do,” she said. “I think we provide a great service and people are always happy to see us.”
For more information or to book an event, visit facebook.com/paradiseshavedice.ca or call 805-610-828.