Show Cones spins hot and cold with new coffee service in North Abilene
The menu is now available hot, cold and year-round at Show Cones’ north side location with the recent addition of brewed and craft coffee drinks.
It’s one of the few recent changes to Show Cones by customer-turned-owners Kelley and Mark Hathorn, who took over operations July 1. She is a CPA with accounting firm Carter & Beard PC, and since 2018m he has been the Wylie High School Tennis Coach after 17 years coaching at McMurry University.
It was during Mark’s college days that the Hathorns and their daughters developed a taste for Show Cones at the first location across from the university, near the corner of South 14th Street and Sayles Boulevard.
“Our kids basically grew up hanging out on the tennis courts, and one of their favorite things they did with their dad – and we used to take our kids from tennis camp – was go get a cone of snow,” Kelley said.
Before buying the company, the Hathorns preferred Show Cones fluffy shaved ice.
“Someone once said that our ice cream is like putting a cloud in your mouth because it was so soft. It comes out of the machine and literally looks like snow,” Kelley said.
With the girls growing up, the business fills the couple’s free time and will give them something to do in the future as retirees. Mark recently turned 60, Kelley said.
“He’s looking for something to do once that he can’t be on the court all the time every day,” Kelley said. “…Sitting doesn’t work at all for this man. So I had to find something for him to do.”
And, one business led to another. Looking for moveable signs to park outside the snow cone locations, the Hathorns learned that an operation formerly in Abilene had closed. So they bought that business too, Kelley said.
Coffee drinks and year-round service are currently limited to the north side Show Cone location at 3375 Ambler Ave. in an old drive-thru car wash. The original stand at 1433 Sayles Blvd. is closed for the season.
Seasonal snow cone stands are permitted in the city for six or nine consecutive months of operation in a calendar year. With the addition of coffee and other beverages, Show Cones is now licensed as an annual non-alcoholic beverage business, Kelley said.
Jason Ligon and his sister, Jessica, founded the company in 2012 at the original location, which is the parking lot of their parents’ company, Big Country Supply, Kelley said. The North Side destination has been added and Show Cones also sets up seasonally in Brownwood and at local special events with a mobile truck.
Filling the North Abilene Coffee Desert
Adding morning hours to serve lattes, caramel macchiatos and non-coffee drinks such as freshly squeezed lemonade and Italian sodas made with snow cone flavorings seemed convenient in an area lacking such options, a Kelley said.
“It would also give our employees the opportunity to work year-round, because we have great people working for us, and we just wanted them to stay employed,” Kelley said.
At the height of the summer snow cone season, as many as 35 to 45 part-time employees, usually high school or college students home for a break, are on the payroll. The number is around 15 now, she said.
Kelley’s CPA background is a plus for managing operations, but she’s equally comfortable making snow cones as she is figuring out company finances. She worked in the mobile truck at soccer games, soccer games and events at the Abilene Zoo, she said.
Although she is a snow cone fan, her coffee interests are more simplistic.
“I love coffee. I drink coffee every morning, but I’m just kind of a regular girl with just cream in it and that’s it,” Kelley said.
She knows, however, that hot, iced and blended coffees in many flavors are a hit with her daughters’ generation. Weeks were spent developing the recipes and techniques before the launch of the coffee menu.
Coffees from a Midland roaster are the basis of the new drinks. Coffee beans are roasted differently depending on the application, with some intended for espresso-based drinks and others for hot and cold coffee drinks, Kelley said.
And, some snow cone flavors and creams do double duty on the menu.
“We use some of our syrups and our Show Cone snow cone flavors in our coffee,” Kelley said. “…If you order a snow cone and say, hey, I’d like to have a coconut snow cone with cream, we have a cream that we make ourselves that we put on your snow cone. Well, that’s what we put in the coffee too.”
But, Kelley said that for people like her who prefer quality coffee without “the bells and whistles and candy and all that,” brewed coffee is also an option, she said.
Hours of operation for the Ambler site are 7am-11am and 3pm-8pm daily, but may be adjusted based on customer response. Updates will be posted on social media.