Franchising Today - Summer 2016 - 78
www.bahamabucks.com / HQ: Lubbock, Texas / Eric Lee, CFO: "There's such an
appeal to not only loving your work but to work at something you love doing."
Bahama Buck's Avalanche Crew members
craft each shaved ice product by hand.
Bahama Buck's is shaving off a niche in the dessert
market. BY TIM O'CONNOR
Bahama Buck's wants to take
its customers on a mini vacation with
every cup of shaved ice they purchase.
The franchise offers more than 100
base flavors and a variety of toppings,
creating more than 9 billion combinations, from pink lemonade mixed with
cherry to pickle juice with chili salt and
chamoy (available only at select locations). Those customization options
appeal to millennials and help shaved
ice find a niche in the dessert market
between ice cream and frozen yogurt.
Bahama Buck's is at the forefront of
the shaved ice/Sno market. The company is experiencing a period of rapid
growth and is looking for franchisees
who can help turn its gourmet Sno
into a desirable dessert option across
the country, and who are willing to follow its model of "blessing our guests."
That model takes different forms
throughout the organization. For the
corporate team, its guests are the individual store owners, for the owners it's
the staff and for the staff it's the customer. Adhering to that service mindset is how Bahama Buck's creates the
ultimate tropical dessert experience.
President Blake Buchanan founded
the first Bahama Buck's store in June
1990 when he was still a sophomore
at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. Buchanan had seen a sale listing selling
shaved ice equipment and it sparked
his interest in creating his own business. "Little did I know it would be a
career decision right there and then,"
he says. "I didn't know how to make
ice cream or yogurt but I knew how to
Buchanan's father and grandfather
helped him build the first Sno stand
in the backyard. His first employees were his future wife, Kippi, and
friend Eric Lee, now the company's
CFO. The stand confused Texas Tech
students at first. Some had never had
shaved ice or Sno before and others
thought it sold hotdogs.
But sales doubled the second year as
word of mouth spread and Buchanan
and Lee soon realized they had a concept that could catch fire. A year later,
the duo opened a store in Phoenix to
take advantage of the young population and year-round warm weather.
In 2013, the company had only 28
stores. Since then, Bahama Buck's has
sold more than 200 locations. The
company now has 87 stores operating and another 166 in development.
A new store is on pace to open every
three weeks and existing locations
have witnessed a 92 percent sales increase in the past three five years.
One of the things that has propelled
Bahama Buck's to the top of the
shaved ice market is that the company manufactures its own flavorings.
That allows it to partner with companies such as Coca-Cola, Mondelez
and Impact Confections to create fun
flavors based on well-known brands.
Bahama Buck's also offers shock flavors such as pancakes and syrup that
get customers interested in trying the
concoction in shaved ice form.
Bahama Buck's is adjusting to its
growth by identifying the right locations and vetting owners. When possible, the company looks for franchisees who want to open multiple stores
so that they have more experience
with each successive location. "They
understand the system, the product
and they know the volume they're going to run into," Lee says.