Paradise turns five
BY CAMAS FRANK
OF THE ATASCADERO NEWS
ATASCADERO — A local business that’s made itself a fixture at area events is turning five years old this summer.
Paradise Shaved Ice, known for their two colorful trailer-booths set up wherever there’s a crowd, and for owner Angela Vrettos-Rayher’s full head of purple hair, is themed after her experiences in the Cayman Islands before settling into life as a parent in Atascadero.
“I know most people think Tiki here because they can go to Hawaii,” she said, “But when I think of paradise it’s the tropical paradise, it’s the Caymans.”
The color scheme and cartoon parrot logo were thought up with a friend in the graphic arts before the events, shaved ice, summer treats and occasional hot foods were fleshed out as their business model, Vrettos-Rayher added.
Five years ago, having recently separated from her husband and seeking to engage with her 11-year-old daughter’s entrepreneurial drive, establishing a slice of paradise on El Camino Real seems pretty good.
The first, ultimately temporary, location was on the property currently under construction for the La Plaza project, where they spent a year and a half.
When the lease ended though, Vrettos-Rayher said, they found that being mobile had a lot of advantages.
“We get to go to the crowds rather than sit and wait for them to visit us,” she said, noting that the business could do with a third events trailer to cover all the territory SLO County offers but they’re doing quite well with the two customized stands.
While Vrettos-Rayher says her, now 16-year-old, daughter Leah, “is as much a part of the business as I am,” giving the pair a lot of mother-daughter bonding opportunities as well as life lessons, though the younger Rayher still has to wait a few years to serve the frozen alcoholic cocktails the shaved ice company is mixing at private events.
“We’re really growing in weddings and private parties,” Vrettos-Rayher said, “the cocktails came out because we were already making a really yummy Margarita flavor,” Piña Colada followed soon after.
“We can do that at private events with alcohol supplied by the host,” she said, noting that stays separate from the face they show the public at events such as the Lakefest held recently or benefits for the Parents for Joy organization’s Joy Park in Atascadero.
“We do a lot of events for schools too, and donate a lot to organizations doing good,” she said, estimating the small family business has facilitated at least $25,000 for such projects,m “they don’t ask we just donate.”
They like to take part in the community fun too, as evidenced by Leah Rayher’s skippering of a craft in the Friends of Atascadero Lake’s Cardboard Boat Regatta during the 2019 Lakefest. While she came in fourth place, the palm tree mast and parrot mascot made the journey intact, completing the image with Caribbean influenced face paint.
“I think what we enjoy most are the people,” Vrettos-Rayher said, noting that its a basic income for a single mom and two kids, but they feel luckier with every passing season. Although she said, it’s a little like squirreling away nuts in the boom months for a leaner winter.
“I bought a V8 for the trailers this year,” she adds, noting that the days of needing a minivan were over, but she’s amazed at the little things she been called on to learn running a business, “I can back a trailer into a spot at 90 degrees in the dark now.”
Or, she adds, that company websites are overrated in the social media era.
She keeps a running log of all their events at facebook.com/paradiseshavedice.ca.
As well as being reachable to book private parties at 805-610-8208.