Last year in June, I wrote a blog about my first trip in April to Flurries--the shaved snow bar in Cypress, CA, the profits of which go to supporting missions projects of Catalyst Christian Community. When I was there in March this year, the Manager, Don Hirata, happened to be there as well. So I thought, “Why not do a follow-up piece and find out from Don how Flurries is doing about a year later?” So that’s what I did.
The first question I asked him was, “Are you where you want to be after one year?” He answered, “Yes,” and went on to explain that they’ve learned a lot about service and product over the course of a year.
At the beginning, they had a lot of staff because they wanted to train a lot of people to do the work. But now, with a better handle on what they actually need, they’ve been able to streamline, cutting down on staff and hours.
At the time I went there—about 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon—there were only two people working there—Don and my nephew, Philip Gohata. But a third person joined them before I left, and they needed the help.
Don was very happy to report that reviews on Yelp! have generally been good. And every day new people are coming in. So the workers have to keep explaining such things as what shaved snow is, what some of the menu items are, and how to order a concoction they come up with themselves. And at the same time, loyal customers are turning in their fully stamped cards (7 stamps for 7 items bought) for a free dish, and are asking for more. That’s a good combination—new people coming, old people returning.
On that day I happened to have with me my own fully stamped card. So I redeemed it for a dish I had not yet tried--Bananas Foster. When I ordered it, the woman in line behind me said, “I always get that.” It was good to know that one satisfied customer liked it.
It turned out that she comes pretty often. But she wasn’t there that day to order Bananas Foster or any other dish of shaved snow. She came in to buy some $5 gift cards—9 of them! She said she likes to bring her kid’s basketball team to Flurries after every game.
For the record,Bananas Foster—a seasonal dish that was first introduced in the fall--did notdisappoint. Here’s what it is: “Original milk snow layered with rich caramel sauce, fresh bananas, crunchy banana chips, and topped with sweet whipped cream.” I have a good feeling about it making it onto the specialty menu, permanently!
Don also shared that they are starting to do community events. With portable equipment and refrigerators they’re now able to take their snow on the road. He mentioned that they had just successfully had a shaved snow stand at the season opening of the local Little League baseball league. They have also been able to do school events. So they’re getting the word out to the community--“We’re here. Come visit.”
I was at Flurries for about an hour. When I first got there, only a couple of tables were occupied. But there was a steady stream of people coming in and the place filled up. I’d say about two-thirds were Asian. Customers ordered all kinds of dishes—Rainbow Sherbet, Cookie Monster, Halo Halo, Rocky Road, French Toast. I even heard someone talk about what she was going to order next time—Triple Berry Pie. Yes, people keep coming back.
I also heard one customer ask Don about the profits going toward charitable causes. So he was able to explain how members of Catalyst pooled their own personal resources (not the church's) to create Flurries so that with the profits they could support work to help people in need locally and around the world. So I witnessed first-hand how this innovative venture piques the curiosity and interest of customers and has the potential of being a source of God’s light to the community.
I’m aware of some of the missions and outreach work that Catalyst has been doing. The wife of my nephew (not Philip) went last year with a team on a mission trip to Thailand in August, and my niece went on one to Cambodia in December. And I heard that there is a group that has been getting involved in work with homeless people through the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles. I don’t think that any funding has come yet from profits from Flurries to support this work, but it’s good to see how the Lord is moving people at Catalyst into missions.
So with the warmer days of spring here and summer coming, and with more visibility in the community, Flurries is looking good for good business ahead. In the meantime, I think I’ll just look forward to my next trip. I need to try Salted Mocha again, but this time with coffee snow (not original milk snow).
Flurries, 5950 Corporate Ave. #200, Cypress, CA 90630, 714-826-2848