A single hut becomes a budding empire
The spark came when Patrick Revnew was a sophomore in high school.
He was waiting tables as a server at Wexford Place—his first job—and saving as much money as he could. He shared his idea, to open a shave ice stand, with is supervisor Jacob Gutierrez and then his parents. Together, they checked out locations in Parkville and Liberty.
Then things really started to roll: Revnew’s mother’s friend’s daughter was selling a shave ice truck. Gutierrez and Revnew became partners. They hauled the truck to Revnew’s backyard, gutted the inside, and completely renovated the exterior. They found a new spot at Zona Rosa.
Opening day was May 29, 2015, the first day of the Italian Festival.
“We did incredibly well,” says Revnew. “I couldn’t believe how well we did. Still, we didn’t know if we’d be a success. We were really focused on the one location.”
When summer ended, Revnew headed east to Columbia; he’s a business student at the University of Missouri.
“We realized there’s so much more to a shave ice business than just working the stand during the summer,” says Revnew. “We’ve learned about business licenses and food handling cards, sales tax and health permits. My friend’s mom is an accountant and she helped us understand taxes and other financial concerns.”
The work on Hawaiian Ice didn’t stop while Revnew was at school. In fact, it consumed all of his non-class time until Thanksgiving, when he came back home and looked at—and bought—a second stand.
“It was another gut job and believe it or not, it was even more work than the first one,” says Revnew.
They found a location at Burlington Creek and set opening day for May 15, which was delayed five days because of rain. Keeping with tradition, the original location, at Zona Rosa, opened for its second season on the opening day of Italian Fest.
“We focused more on branding this summer,” says Revnew. “We want to make it more of a brand, not just a business.”
Revnew says he enjoys the creative process of opening and operating a business.
“It’s hard work, but it’s fun. I’ve always wanted to be my own boss. I don’t want to work for anyone else, and I’m always trying to learn, to grow. This isn’t just a summertime job for me and it’s not a way to earn a little pocket cash for school. It’s a business I want to grow.
Even when I was young, I was entrepreneurial. I had lemonade stands and I was always looking for a way to be my own boss.”
Revnew talks about family quite a bit: he says he couldn’t do it without the help of his dad and grandpa, who helped so much with remaking the inside of both stands. His brother, who is still in high school, is an investor in the company.
“We needed a new machine last summer and he’d saved money and wanted to invest,” says Revnew.
He also says family in California, who own and operate successful businesses, inspire him.
“I’ve watched them do it,” he says, “and I know I can make it on my own, too. I can do my own thing.”
Revnew isn’t stopping with two stands: he recently purchased a third building and is working to open in late spring of 2017. With that addition, Hawaiian Ice will be come the largest shave ice company in all of Kansas City.
“It’s taken a little over a year,” he says. “And we’re going to keep trying to grow.”
Learn more at Facebook.com/HawaiianIceKC