Shave ice vendors hope to entice with unique ingredients

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Snow cone and shave ice stands dot the Utah summer landscape. Within a stone’s throw from Brigham Young University, three shave ice stands claim to have unique ingredients that truly set them apart from the other Provo shave ice stands.

These three Provo shave ice businesses are preparing their secret weapons to compete in the battle for shave ice supremacy this summer.

The idea of flavored ice originated in Japan more than 1,000 years ago. When Japanese immigrants came to Hawaii, they brought this cool treat with them. Today, shave ice is a favorite in Hawaii as well as abroad. Although the ice is shaved, it is typically referred to as shave ice.

Laura Jefferies, originally from Hawaii, recently purchased Sumo’s Shave Ice.

(Photo by Brett Steele)
AJ Gubernick, Manager of Ono Shave Ice, makes final preparations before opening. (Photo by Brett Steele)

Sumo’s Shave Ice lays claim as the first business in the world to serve Y02. Y02 is a a type of carbonated softserve yogurt that was created at BYU. Jefferies believes that using this technology will set Sumo’s Shave Ice apart from the others.

Jefferies has turned the reigns over to her two sons, Joshua and Jacob, who will run the business.

“I am hoping it will be a family thing that will continue on forever,” Jefferies said.

AJ Gubernick manages Ono Shave Ice and also believes his operation has something that will set it apart.

“Besides just the condensed milk, we also have a special sauce that people can put on their shave ice,” Gubernick said.

One of the owners made this special sauce, which is unique to Ono Shave Ice. Gubernick believes this special sauce will attract consumers to Ono. Customers can try their shave ice with this secret sauce as well as any other combination of flavors and extras.

Ono Shave Ice is located on the corner of 900 East and 1200 North, across from the BYU Creamery. Prior to Ono Shave Ice’s summer opening on May 9, staff made many preparations, including building a brand new shack with surf-themed decor.

“It’s our first year, but we’re going all out,” Gubernick said. “Say ‘oh yes’ to Ono.”

The most seasoned vendor in the area, Hokulia Shave Ice, has been selling its version of Hawaiian shave ice from the same spot for five years and recently signed a contract to operate in the same location for the next five years.

Hokulia is committed to selling the best shave ice and imports all of its ingredients from Hawaii and uses expensive ice shavers unique to its business.

“All of our flavorings are straight from Hawaii,” co-owner Jeff Sadler said. “Along with that, we have our ice specially made for our purpose. It’s a lot softer than the other shave ice places. It takes between three and four days to make the ice, unless you invest in the machine that is made specially for it. A lot of people aren’t willing to make that investment.”

Sadler opened the shave ice business across the street from Helaman Halls at 1455 N. Canyon Road. The special ice has proven to attract customers, as the company has continually expanded and is quickly growing.

“We have 15 franchises opening up within the next two months, and by the end of the year there will be 26 open in Utah,” Sadler said. “We’re planning on opening up as many as we can in the next couple years. We’re growing a little empire.”

Wherever Provo residents decide to buy their shave ice this summer, they can rest assured that there will be plenty of these refreshing treats to help keep them cool this summer.

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