“It has been nuts,” Hansen said. “But, with this space coming up and with everything where I’m at right now, graduating and planning to stay here for school, I just felt like this is the right time to do it. And if I don’t do it now, I don’t know if I’ll ever do it.”
Hansen wrote the business plan for ICY-T about a year ago when her youth entrepreneurship and marketing teacher encouraged her to enter the Wichita Urban Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Her business plan won top prize.
She went on to win the Kansas State Entrepreneurship Challenge. Between the two competitions she took home $2,450, which went into paying rent and purchasing equipment for ICY-T along with money that she had saved from years of working at a neighboring business, Clifton Collective.
“I really like this area and it just kind of seems like really perfect timing for what I want to do in the future,” Hansen said. “I just think it all worked out really nicely.”
Hansen did a soft opening May 27, and said reception has been pretty good so far. She estimated that about 150 customers came in between Saturday and Wednesday, and she was closed for Memorial Day.
She is hoping that business grows after the grand opening on June 24. Hansen said she is going to have yard games outside, merchandise on sale and pop-up vendors to draw people into the shop.
So far, she hasn’t had a customer that couldn’t find a flavor they liked out of the 50 options that ICY-T has on display. There are classic flavors including peach, strawberry and piña colada, but also a few surprises.
“Blue raspberry has been really popular and birthday cake, sour apple, root beer,” Hansen said. “We even have a dill pickle flavor, like, we have pretty much everything that you could possibly imagine.”
Ten possibilities are naturally flavored and have no sugar.
The three size options range from $3-$5, and there will be a 50 cent charge to add toppings like sour patch kids, nerds and gummy bears.
Right now, Hansen is running the shop with some help from her family when she can’t be there. The shop is open from noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Hansen wanted to open this shop to serve her community and make her product as accessible as possible. Even the location was chosen so that she would be able to bring snow cones to an area of Wichita that hasn’t had one close by.
“I would hang out at the pool all day during the summer of 2020 during COVID, and I realized that the closest snow cone place was a 15-minute drive. I didn’t want to drive 15 minutes, and I know parents don’t want to load their kids up in the car and get sticky and messy,” Hansen said. “Just having a place that you can walk to and get the same thing, I just felt like it would be really nice.”
The location was the final piece to fall into place. In late February, she found the space accidentally during a shift at Clifton Collective, when she wanted a sweet treat from the cookie dough shop that used to have the lease.
Stephanie Wise, the broker associate from Street Commercial who handled the leasing in Clifton Square, said she was a bit surprised to see a high school student asking seriously about the availability of the space.
“It almost felt more like an interview for a school project at first,” Wise said.
However, Hansen came to their first meeting with her full 15-page business plan and prepared to convince Wise that she knew how to run a business. She had also recently received WSU’s prestigious Gore Scholarship, which gives $64,000 to incoming freshmen that display outstanding leadership potential.
“Once I met her and saw her business plan and heard more about her success and some of the awards that she’s won with this business concept, it definitely took me by a little bit of a surprise and changed my posture on how I led that conversation,” Wise said. “That kind of changed the tone for the landlords as well.”
By April, Hansen was moving into the 350-square-foot space, preparing to turn it into ICY-T.
“It’s been about a month of just frantically trying to get everything fixed up and moved in and get everything working,” Hansen said.
When school starts, Hansen wants to spend as much time at the store as possible, but plans to cut back on hours. Since snow cones are also more of a seasonal treat, she expects that the demand will be much lower in the colder months.
She is planning to double major in business administration and statistics and dreams of owning a data firm in the future. But, for now, snow cones are her focus.
“I’m excited to help enhance the community,” Hansen said. “College Hill is such a good neighborhood and Clifton Square specifically is such a good environment with all those small, little businesses that are here. So I think just helping enhance and serve is gonna be a really fun opportunity.”