Photo Gallery | Jerry's Sno Cones ready to serve up
When walking up to the small order window in a bright, pink and turquoise snow cone stand that sits on the corner in a Memphis community – it is nearly impossible to not have a big smile on your face.
That is what Jerry's Sno Cones owner David Acklin observed over his seven years serving up some of the best cold treats in the Mid-South.
"About 95 percent have a smile on their face. Anywhere from teenagers to 80-year-old couples drove from Germantown, Collierville, Atoka or Mississippi," said Acklin explaining the memories made by families and friends while enjoying a tasty snack. "It's childhood memories, and I try and keep it as old school possible."
The roughly 45-year-old business is a neighborhood monument that is known for creative treats in a styrofoam cup. Now, Acklin and his team are preparing for their busiest time of the year with many items in demand like their signature flavor red wedding cake.
This year Acklin is introducing a new flavor called tickle me sweet, which includes apple and pink lemonade.
"Used to be a tickle my fancy that older people will remember from the past," he said.
Jerry's Sno Cone's space was once the home of a Sinclair's Gas Station that was complete with a dinosaur figure on the top of the building. The story goes that the office was used to give away snow cones.
"Pull up to the mechanic, and the kids would act up – they would offer to make them a snow cone," said Acklin.
The gas station eventually shifted into just selling snow cones, but the location has served many purposes – one being a famous shooting location for a film. Jerry's Sno Cones was featured in the classic Great Balls of Fire.
"Many people think it's named after Jerry Lee Lewis, but it's actually named after the original owners' son," he said.
At the time the movie was filmed the building was white, baby blue, with a splash of some neon colors. But after the business was too much for Acklin's grandparents to handle, he took over.
Shortly after, new colors lit up Jerry's. Acklin strives to keep the colors fresh, but is perpetually fighting against the sun that fades it.
"I think when people pass, to be honest with you, when people see it – they smile," he said. "I still love [the business] as much as being [here for] the hours. Every day, I pray for safety and thank God for every customer that came through."
Despite the negative attention Nutbush receives from some Memphians, Acklin loves serving the community his business resides in. He said safety has never been an issue for his employees or his customers.
"This community is a hard working community, it's blue collar," he said. "There may have been a fist fight once over a girl. And when that happens it's usually someone who doesn't live in the neighborhood."
Jerry's Sno Cones is open year round, but closes on Sundays. Acklin plans on operating a full time drive thru this fall. That will make it easier for customers to visit in cold weather when they would like to order warmer menu items, like the burger or fried baloney.
Acklin said his business motivation is inspired by his customers, and the long hours of management are always worth it.
"It's my customers who keep me motivated during the spring and summer," said Acklin. "Feedback, take some negative but a lot more positive, and when working 18 hours all week, all day long, every day – someone always steps up tells me, 'Your products are great.'"
Click here for full hours and address for Jerry’s Sno Cones.
Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.