SnoMania Island opened in Toano barely two weeks ago, and already the owners of the shaved ice shop are seeing long lines and happy faces.
“The community has responded really well,” said owner Kraig Ware. “Basically we’re just trying to figure out how many cool things we can do with this ice.”
On hot Virginia days, SnoMania Island’s draw is its snow — the shaved ice that goes into its signature treat, the Fruit Mania.
Fruit Mania is a bowl of shaved ice served, of course, with fruit, as well as toppings such as sweet cream, cookie butter, and Biscoff cookies, among others. The customer can customize the treat as they see fit.
“The Fruit Mania is the craziest thing we do,” Ware said. “It takes snow to a whole new level. The number of concoctions that can be made are limitless. You pick a flavor, you pick a fruit, you pick a topping, you can mix and match however you want to.”
Ware said the most popular menu item may be the SnoMania Delight — a Fruit Mania served with fresh strawberries, sweet cream, cookie butter, a Biscoff cookie and whipped cream.
SnoMania also offers lemonade and limeade made from a Ware family recipe.
Ware is currently the Athletic Director for the Williamsburg Christian Academy, as well as the Kid’s Director for Upward Church.
However, it was his own children Ware had in mind when he opened his business. Ware and his wife, Lynn, have three sons, aged 15, 13 and 10, and the kids have learned to do every task between SnoMania’s walls besides inventory.
“It teaches them how to work, teaches them how to run a business so one day when they have their own business they’ll know how to do it,” Ware said. “I just think it’s important. In today’s schools, they teach them facts, they teach them how to do things, but they really don’t show them how to bring it all together into a business sense.”
SnoMania Island — located at 7852 Richmond Road — is currently seasonal, but Ware said he hopes it will eventually add to its menu and operate year-round. For 2017, he said he hopes to run as deep into the fall as possible before closing for the cold months.
In the meantime, the Texas native said snow cones run “deep in his blood,” and he hopes to share his snow-cone passion with customers all summer.
“Growing up as a kid I always enjoyed it,” Ware said. “It was that little summer treat. I remember how much fun it was for me. If we can take that same product and make it better and add a few twists to it along the way, and bring other people joy with it, that’s kind of the reward I get- because I know how much joy it brought to me as a kid.”