In 2015, the White brothers were teenagers too young to get jobs but old enough to want to buy nice things for themselves. So their mother, Clea, did some brainstorming and proposed that the boys start their own shaved ice business.
The siblings, TreVon, now 23, Mechai, 20, and Tristen, 17, took up their mother’s suggestion and started TMT Shaved Ice out of their driveway, where they offered flavored shaved ice and other snack foods.
At first, the boys mainly served members of their church congregation and neighborhood friends.
Clea White and her husband, Marcus, thought the shaved ice business was just a phase, but they soon noticed the boys meant business. Marcus and Clea White then bought their sons a trailer to operate their business out of.
The trailer is still in use, but today, the driveway business their parents once thought was a phase is preparing to open a location in a small building at 2623 W. Garden St., a process that Clea White calls a full circle.
The Whites started looking for a location for their business four years ago but could not find a spot. Clea and Marcus White remember seeing the location at 2623 W. Garden St. and thinking, “That’s a perfect location.” But they had no idea how to get into contact with the right people to buy it.
It turned out that Marcus White grew up with the owner of the building. After a small fire hit the location, the owner was willing to sell. The Whites then bought the building they had been looking at for years.
“I’ll just say how God works,” Clea White said. “Everything comes around full circle, and we end up getting the building we looked at four years ago.”
For the young men, the move to a permanent spot is a culmination of all the work they have put into the business they started six years ago. The building still needs some work to be ready, but Marcus White has been working hard to get it ready, and they plan on unveiling it later this summer.
The new building is a chance to expand what they offer.
“Since we were in the driveway, we’ve got more of an opportunity, especially when it gets fixed, to add more stuff,” Mechai White said. “From the beginning, we started off with just shaved ice, we didn’t really have chips and all that. So I think to just add on little by little and keep growing from 2015, when we started.”
Today, TMT Shaved Ice offers different kinds of snacks, chips and ice cream. The family even offers punch cards to keep people coming back. The community response to TMT Shaved Ice has been great, the family said.
“Everybody’s been pretty receptive of it,” TreVon White said. “We saw how much money we could make in just a couple of hours by just letting everyone know we were doing shaved ice.”
TreVon White, the oldest, was old enough when TMT started to have a job and now has a job away from TMT Shaved Ice. Mechai White is thinking about leaving for school soon, leaving Tristen White, a high school student at Manual High School, as the main worker at the store.
For the future, the brothers are focused on making their store a hit. The parents are hoping to recruit younger neighborhood kids to work the business to keep the tradition of TMT Shaved Ice alive.