By Dennis Seid
PONTOTOC – For perhaps the last time, Kitty Pittman got a banana cream snow cone from the place she’s always gotten them – The Sno Shoppe.
She’s been a regular at the Sno Shoppe since she was a kindergartner in 1988.
“Their snow cones are like no other,” she said. “I’ve only had banana cream – it’s perfect.”
But The Sno Shoppe’s last day was Monday, as owners Bob and Barbara Warren shut the doors – or in this case, the windows – on the 8-by-8-foot stand they’ve operated for 27 years.
“I’m having heart surgery,” Bob Warren explained.
Since news spread recently about the snow cone stand’s closure, customers have flocked to The Sno Shoppe. On Monday, more than 60 people were in line around midday.
And they all received free snow cones. It was the Warrens’ way of saying “thank you” to their customers, whom they consider family.
On Sunday, they sold snow cones to donate money to St. Jude’s in Memphis and raised $700.
That’s a lot of snow cones, considering The Sno Shoppe sells them starting at $1 for a mini and $2 for a large. A cream topping is just 50 cents more.
But with health concerns taking precedence, the Warrens have to say goodbye to their business.
“We’re going to miss it,” Bob Warren said. “We’ve had a lot of great, loyal customers over the years. Ever since people heard we were closing, we’ve seen a lot of people, even as far as Memphis.”
Pittman, who grew up on the snow cones and also had her children enjoy them, said going somewhere else for snow cones won’t be the same.
“There’s no point,” she said.
Antonio Vance, another longtime customer, bought three snow cones – blueberry, watermelon and Tiger’s Blood – to mark the occasion.
“It’s the best I’ve ever had anywhere. … this is very sad,” he said.
The snow cones at The Sno Shoppe are made with shaved ice – a texture that fans say holds on to flavor better than traditional snow cone ice.
The Warrens hand-made the syrups daily, never cutting corners, they told the Daily Journal in a 2010 interview.
“We don’t dilute our syrup or use less sugar,” Bob Warren said. “All the corners you cut will eventually catch up to you. And it don’t matter if they’re lined up to the street out there, we don’t get in a hurry. We try to make each snow cone as good as the next one.”
With some 30 flavors available, no wonder The Sno Shoppe went through 300 pounds of sugar and 25 blocks of ice during a typical busy week.
Emily Newell was with her two daughters plus two of their friends Monday for one last nostalgic trek to get snow cones.
“We’re usually here twice a week, but since last week we’ve been here every day,” she said. “I’ve been coming here eight or nine years. … this is so sad. They’re such a sweet couple. We’re going to miss them.”