By Maia Martin
September 18, 2013
With ice coolers in one hand and fruity syrups in the other, Dominican’s Anthony Pisano is certainly a young entrepreneur to keep an eye out for.
Pisano, a senior and resident assistant in Power Hall, calls his snow cone business a “labor of love”. But how did a political science major run across the idea of starting his own business?
The summer before he started college, Pisano worked for a local suburban park district mowing lawns and building park tables. It was during those long, hot summer days that Pisano began to wonder if he could ever do something that would allow him to become his own boss.
Interestingly enough, Pisano decided starting up a snow cone business would be cheap to start and fun to do.
“I wanted to do something that was cheap enough for kids to buy,” Pisano said.
With an ethical business mindset and neighborhood spirit, he began immersed in a year-long process in order to create his very own business from scratch. First, Pisano enrolled in a food sanitation course at Triton College, which he said was the hardest part of the entire process.
“It was the most expensive part of starting the snow cone business, and was difficult because of its semester-long duration while I was already taking a full course load at Dominican,” he said.
His next step was applying for a peddler’s license through the Village of River Grove.
“I felt very fortunate to be helped by the board [of River Grove] because in any other town, they would probably turn a cold shoulder to an inexperienced college student,” he explained.
Aside from paying for both a sanitation course and business license, Pisano also underwent a background check through the River Grove Police Department.
Pisano bought an ice crushing machine and started making his own syrups for the snow cones. He experimented with Kool-Aid, Crystal Light, and fruit juices for the syrups, even hosting taste-testing sessions with his friends and family.
“I wanted to make my own syrups because they are fresher than the store-bought syrups.”
Three years later, Pisano now has over 11 flavors for the snow cones, with lemon, blue raspberry, and black cherry among the top sellers.
Pisano had to spend over $1,000 of his own money to start everything off. Being a college student, he knew that every penny invested counted.
Eventually, because of his early successes with the business, he gained back a strong sense of confidence.
“I knew I’d lose money, but I’m young and will bounce back,” he said with a smile.
Once Pisano’s business was up and running, River Grove started hiring him for special village events, such as little league games, soccer games, and even birthday parties.
When the Office of Student Involvement at Dominican caught wind of his business, CAB offered to sponsor him to serve at this year’s DU Fest. His sponsorship turned out to be very successful, with over 550 snow cones having been distributed.
Pisano admits that he was surprised with the success of the business, especially since he has come to the point of breaking even many times.
“This is my third year and it has been very profitable,” he said.
Although Pisano is unsure if he will continue the business in the future, he admits that he has a passion for it. He loves being able to put smiles on people’s faces through snow cones, and enjoys the fact that he can have family and friends help out with the events as well.
“What’s great about this era is that we could be our own boss,” Pisano added, demonstrating his great determination to follow his own dreams.
You can find and “like” Pisano’s Homemade Snow Cones on Facebook.