Groups of people in bright tee shirts carry an assortment of gardening gadgets and tools, fanning out among the shotgun homes that line the neighborhood lanes. Some are headed toward alleyways with trash bags and gloves, some are towing wheelbarrows and shovels, paint and paintbrushes, and others are headed to houses to help homeowners with structural projects. It’s a mix between kids and adults, volunteers and residents -even a few Heine Brothers’ Coffee baristas and staff.
This is the scene you’ll encounter at the Love Your Neighborhood events, which our Portland neighbors from Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville began in 2016 in Louisville.
Our baristas answer the question: What was the best (or worst) holiday gift you ever got as a kid?
Kody: “A new belt from my distant aunt that I later got spanked with for not appreciating my new belt.”
André: “Best: Having your birthday on Christmas . Worst: Having your birthday on Christmas.”
Josh: “A re-gift of cheap cologne”
Kalee: “Worst – a furby”
Ashley: “Worst: my family used to have one of those “steal a gift” game things where everyone brings something for like $10. I took home outdated computer software.”
Marina: “Worst: $1 check from Grandma. Best: Harry Potter Lego set of Hogwarts Express.”
Patrick: “Worst: A set of scrapbooking supplies with a complimentary scent of cigarette smoke.”
Alison: “Worst: A goldfish that died the next morning.”
America: “PS2 with all PS1 games. Best and worst.”
Have you met April from Main Street, yet? April is new to our downtown Louisville store, and also the co-owner of SnoWhat Snoballs!
Erica, a fellow barista who nominated April, said, “April is amazing. She is a business owner, always takes care of other people and has THE BEST customer service in all of downtown. I love working with her and today she bought me lunch!”
Which location is your home store?
How long have you been working at HB?
Just a few months.
Louisville Native or Transplant?
Transplant. I grew up in Eastern Kentucky, and moved to Elizabethtown when I was 11. I moved to Louisville in 2000 for college and never left! There’s a bumper sticker that says “I’m not from Louisville but I got here as quick as I could!” – I couldn’t agree more.
You also founded SnoWhat Snoballs – which look awesome! Tell us about your business.
Awe, thank you! We’re a mobile food truck serving gourmet shaved ice. We have signature flavors that are homemade using real fruit, cane sugar, and no high fructose corn syrup or artificial coloring. We also offer classic flavors such as Cherry and Blue Raspberry for the kid at heart and those who really can’t live without a blue tongue! Right now, we’re still pretty small, operating mostly on the weekends at fairs, festivals, and local events, such as the Buy Local First Fair, and Forecastle. We’re also available for private events, corporate parties, weddings, and birthdays! We create custom flavor profiles, even alcoholic “boozy” balls.
So what exactly is a snoball?
I’m glad you asked! The reason we call our icy treats snoballs is simple — our ice is fluffy just like snow! It’s not your typical snow cone. Our ice practically melts in your mouth and absorbs the real fruit syrups we drizzle on top. As an added bonus, we use toppings like sweetened condensed milk, caramel, and sprinkles.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I have always wanted to own my own business! I’ve worked as a manager for a few companies, and while I’ve loved the jobs, there are certain things that are just out of my control. Being able to make decisions in your business and having the ability to be creative in ways that a corporate job just won’t allow. I love all the little details of ordering products, and building relationships with customers and vendors. If I see a friend and want to step out of the truck and give them a hug, I can! My friend and business partner, Jessica Bledsoe, moved just outside of New Orleans for a short period in 2010. Snoball stands are everywhere in NOLA, and after trying one, we both knew, we just had to bring snoballs to Louisville. After a few years of planning and saving, and the invaluable Kayla Allinger joining the team, SnoWhat served its first snoball in April 2015.
Do you have a personal favorite snoball flavor?
Green Apple will always hold a special place in my heart, but our homemade caramel apple made with granny smith apples, cinnamon and other spices, and drizzled with creamy caramel is my new favorite.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs starting out?
Get up and start! I have the tendency to over-plan and overthink. After Jessica and I purchased the block ice shaver, her husband Adam said, “Well, go make some snoballs!” We jumped in with an event that weekend and haven’t looked back. It’s definitely been a learning experience. Find mentors! I talk to everyone that is willing to have a conversation with me. Their advice is golden. Always take more than you think you’ll need. Lastly, it may sound cliche’, but be prepared for failure. My first test batch of our Watermelon Basil was probably one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever tasted. I kept trying and now have a recipe that our customers love.
Do you have any exciting holiday flavors or events planned?
We have recently started experimenting with snow cream! I use to make it when I was a kid, and it dawned on me that I have an endless supply of snow at my fingertips. We tested it out at Yelp’s Art in Action event and the crowd consensus is that we must add it to our menu. We’re also preparing winter flavors such as eggnog, sugar cookie, and cranberry for private parties and corporate holiday events during our off season.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time when you’re not working at HBC or SnoWhat?
Cooking, creating, and cuddling with my animals.
And finally, what’s your favorite HB drink?
That’s probably the hardest question of this interview! I’m going to have to say the Fair Trade Mayan Mocha, but followed very VERY closely by the Beekeeper and the Banana Chiaberg.
Interested in booking SnoWhat Snoballs for an event this season? Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, and find our more on their website: www.snowhatlouisville.com or through social media: @SnoWhatLOU.
Meet Josh this month!
Between graduate school at UofL, working as Educational Outreach Coordinator at Louisville Youth Group, acting as on Just Creation’s Board of Directors, and volunteering with True Colors Outreach Ministry at Highland Baptist Church, Josh has a full schedule. But he still manages to find time to kill it as a barista at our Blankenbaker store.
His manager, Kate, nominated Josh because he “is totally sweet and down to earth! He was actually one of my favorite customers long before he ever applied to work here.”
Which location is your home store?
Blankenbaker Parkway, home of the BEST manager, Kate Vanderlip, and assistant manager, Erin Day!
How long have you been working at HB?
About 5 months
Louisville Native or Transplant?
You’re a grad student at the UofL Kent School of Social Work – which class are you most looking forward to this semester?
I am most looking forward to my Practicum because it gives me the opportunity to apply the skills I need to master before graduation, and I can learn where I need to grow.
Finish the sentence: I couldn’t live without ______.
I couldn’t live without my “me” time. It keeps me (somewhat) sane! I have been practicing mindfulness meditation for about a year now. While not the best at establishing a formal practice and certainly not the spokesperson for the practice, I like mindfulness because you can participate no matter where you are – driving to places, walking in the park, reading a book. Formally sitting is helpful, too, because you have to focus all of you attention on the sitting. The idea is that you bring yourself back into the moment. It’s easy to get depressed about the past or anxious about the future, but life occurs in the here & now. Practicing mindfulness and putting myself back in the moment enables me to prioritize & take life one day at a time. The Passionist Earth & Spirit Center hosts monthly group sittings on the third Sunday of each month from 7-8:30.
Tell us a little bit about your work with Louisville Youth Group – how did you get involved?
Louisville Youth Group (LYG) is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to creating a safe place for LGBTQIA+ & Allied youth to socialize, learn, and grow. I am currently a “Mentern,” which is a super cool name for a “Mentor/Intern.” As a graduate student, my Practicum placement is with LYG. I am an outreach coordinator, and my primary function is to reach out to local public and private middle and high schools to share about what LYG does and to aid in the implementation or progression of a Gay-Straight-Transgender Alliance (GSTA) in these schools. I am also working with individuals in Appalachia to develop a group for youth in that region.
What’s the best thing about volunteering your time there or some of the other organizations you work with?
The best thing about working with LYG is that I can be who I needed when I was younger for these youth, and I can aid in providing a safe space in which they can be authentic. I struggled with my identity during high school and college, and honestly, for much of my younger twenties. I am at a point in life now where I have accepted and am comfortable with my identity, I have made resolutions, and I can use my experience to try to improve the experiences of these youth.
In addition to volunteering time with LYG, I am also Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors at Just Creations. Just Creations provides marketing assistance to low income craftspeople in the developing world. The sale of these products helps to provide a fair wage for the artisans and enables them to pay for food, education, healthcare, and housing. I also serve on the Outreach and Board Development Committees, and I volunteer on Trolley Hop Fridays. The best thing about volunteering here is the relationships I have formed with Board and Staff members, and I can play a small part in making the world (and my local community) a better place. I also chose to work at Heine Brothers because of their commitment to Fair Trade!
I am also a member of True Colors Ministry at Highland Baptist Church. Highland Baptist is a thinking, feeling, healing community of faith. True Colors’ purpose is to provide welcome, support, and spiritual education for the LGBTQ community. I grew up in a religious background which made the acceptance of my identity a struggle, and Highland showed me that God accepts me for who I am, and everyone for who they are. No exceptions! Highland saw the good in me when I couldn’t see it in myself.
Favorite place to go in Louisville (or Southern Indiana)?
I love going to the Parklands of Floyd’s Fork! It’s huge, and I can get lost in it and be ok with it! Pretty much anywhere that allows me to be in nature is my favorite place.
What’s your main life philosophy or rule to live by?
Oh man, what a question! Love yourself so you can love others. Forgive yourself so you can forgive others. Know your worth. No one decides your fate but you. Your past is your past, and you can’t change that. Focus on today. Who can you be today to insure that you will not be who you were yesterday? Who can you be today that will get you where you want to be tomorrow?
What’s your favorite HB drink?
My favorite drink at HB. I like all of the things! Honestly, when I open in the mornings, I start with a 4-shot Americano. It is probably my favorite drink, especially at 5:30 in the morning!
Interested in finding out more about some of the organizations Josh works with? Check out these resources and events:
Join them for Customer Appreciation Party & Fair Trade Chocolate Bake Off