Mr. Freeze: 24-year-old business owner beats the heat with Kingwood nitro ice cream shopBookmark this
Part mad scientist, part Willy Wonka, 24-year-old Shane Edwards whips up frosty delights and showcases the wonders of science through his business, Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream, located in Kingwood.
Sub Zero beats the summer heat in a unique way. Instead of the gallon jugs of ice cream that are scooped out of a freezer, Sub Zero uses liquid nitrogen to flash freeze a combination of cream bases and mix-ins to build limitless combinations of ice cream at -320 degrees Fahrenheit. Forbes magazine called the concept one of the 10 best franchises to buy in 2017.
“What really drew me to it was the science aspect,” Edwards said over the phone from the shop. “I like that it was a learning experience and entertainment for the kids and customers. I’m not just selling a product, I’m selling an experience.”
A graduate of Atascocita High School, Edwards began seriously looking into owning his own establishment while lifting and hauling boxes for UPS, eventually rising to the rank of supervisor over the course of three years. His previous job, working at a private golf course, brought him contact with other business owners, inspiring him become one himself.
“It made me want to be like them one day,” he said. “It made me want to work for myself. It made me want to be my own boss and have the freedom to do what I want to do.”
At 21, he initially sought to start a Jimmy John’s but after they denied him a restaurant due to his lack of restaurant experience, he eventually centered his search on a Sub Zero franchise.
“I was sitting in a hotel room after that meeting and I saw Sub Zero on Shark Tank,” Edwards said. “I thought, that is awesome. I ran with it from there.”
With the support and advice of his father, Kevin Edwards, he was able to secure a bank loan and meet all the requirements to start his own Sub Zero franchise. He opened in April 2017 to rave reviews and a consistent line of customers. He currently employs 17 team members.
Besides serving ice cream at the Kingwood location, Edwards is now expanding catering options, taking the nitrogen ice cream freezing process on the road to schools and corporate events. He even plans to cater his own wedding, set for next spring. One of the things Edwards enjoys the most is working with kids who come into the shop that have never seen ice cream made with liquid nitrogen.
“It’s fun to watch them walk in and their faces light up as soon as they see the vapor flying everywhere,” Edwards said. “If it’s their first time, it’s pure amazement. It never gets old.”
While the flooding damage caused by Hurricane Harvey put his expansion plans on hold for a time, Edwards is now looking at venues for a second store location. The only way is up for the budding entrepreneur. For the record, his favorite ice cream flavor is cookies ‘n cream.
“I do this every day, but it doesn’t feel like work to me because it’s something I enjoy doing,” Edwards said.