A couple from Blackpool got more than they bargained during their holiday – sun, sea, sand and an idea for a brand new business.
Michael Conlin and Hayley Welch-Conlin, both 31, from South Shore, were enjoying the trip of a lifetime in Hawaii, and loved the island’s sunshine, beautiful greenery and golden sands.
And while enjoying island life they also discovered their favourite way to cool down and rehydrate on a warm day was with the local favourite, shaved ice, also known as “snow cones”.
The sweet treats were so popular that shops were always bustling with queues.
And it was those queues that set the couple’s minds racing and wondering if they could bring the tropical treat back to Blackpool.
To get some extra encouragement, Hayley attended Blackpool Council’s ‘Get Started’ project – part of the start-up Lancashire service supported by European Regional Development Fund – to get help and advice on what to think about when starting a business from scratch.
It was then that Sno Fro was born.
Offering multi-flavoured and multi-coloured ice treats to big kids and little kids alike, the Sno Fro mobile business is now just beginning to spread its wings.
Hayley said: “Starting up Sno Fro has been a great way to keep a special part of that holiday with us forever.
“Bringing the shaved ice business idea home with us has been great fun, and we hope this can grow from a great weekend hobby into a full-time or seasonal business sometime soon.
“Learning about how to run a business with Get Started was key, and we’re really excited for the adventure.”
Hayley, who went to Blackpool Sixth Form, and Michael, who was at Blackpool and The Fylde College, initially hoped to start with just one event a month, but have found demand has risen despite the wintry start to summer.
Hayley, who works in advertising, and Michael, a plumber, are set to take their icy treats to St Annes Carnival, Bispham Gala Day and Tram Sunday, among others.
Hayley said: “The idea is to break out from the nine to five system. We will run Sno Fro every summer, and then use the winters for other things and travelling.”
Sno Fro will now be coming to an event near you soon, and may be spotted out and about as Michael and Hayley test their idea across Blackpool.
Alan Cavill, Blackpool Council’s director of place, said: “The Get Started team continues to go from strength to strength and helps entrepreneurs like Hayley and Michael, no matter how big or small the idea.
“They offer everything from advice and support to specialist courses in everything from accounting to marketing.
“There are Get Started businesses out there that are worth more millions, and are employing large numbers of people, so I would urge people, if they think they have what it takes to succeed in business, to give us a call.”
Blackpool Council has helped almost 1,000 people start their own businesses over the last seven years through the Get Started scheme.