The last event of the season for Sugar Bee’s Sweets is the city’s Winterfest in December. But fret not, Lexy Ford will return with her Sugar Shack and cart in the spring.
“This is my eighth year of doing business. People usually just kind of wait for spring,” Ford said.
Ford opened the snow cone business in 2016 as a mobile snow cone service on a cart. Customers can still find her cart in the Rio Rancho and Albuquerque area at events and fundraisers. She says she gets catering orders from the film studios from time to time and will take her cart to serve the crews.
She now has the Sugar Shack to accompany it. She had been eyeing the shack between Ten Pins and More and Blake’s Lottaburger on NM 528 for some time.
“I finally figured out the Blake’s owns it. I took on the lease, cleaned it up and gave it some new paint,” she said.
The shack was empty for a while before she bought it, and she says homeless people were using it at times. Blake’s was planning on bulldozing it because of a homeless problem when it was vacant.
The Sugar Shack is set up as a walk-up station with outside tables where people can order snow cones, lemonade and tea. The difference from other snow cone and drink places is Ford uses real fruits, organic sugar and flowers to make her syrups and flavors.
“I get my ingredients from local farmers. I try to keep everything local to New Mexico, if not Rio Rancho,” she added.
One of her lemonades has become very popular with customers as it has lavender in it.
When she first opened, her first event was in Rio Rancho for Jackson’s MMA.
“I had Holly Holm and a bunch of different people at my first event,” she said.
Ford has to do a weekly schedule because right now it is just her running the show. “Sometimes my husband and kids will help out,” she said.
But Ford wants to get to a point where she can hire more help and run the business year-round.
She is currently restoring a camper that will be a food truck for the business. She plans on adding more drinks and possibly coffees in the future.
“As soon as October hits, it’s like almost non-existent. I do caramel apples and bake stuff to supplement the cold stuff, but it’s almost non-existent,” she added.
For the city’s upcoming Winterfest, she says she will do a smaller cold treat limited menu and offer hot chocolate.
Ford says she is always looking for ways to stay relevant in the community.
“A lot of times people ask, ‘Are we here?’ Which is hard because of the seasonal thing; I won’t be here sometimes,” she said.
She says the product is more popular during the summer.
“When it’s the middle of summer and people are at Ten Pins at night, it gets pretty busy,” she added.
While people have suggested that she raise her prices, Ford says she doesn’t want to. Her prices, she adds, are there for people who can’t afford more expensive treats.
“It is sad when a kid wants a snow cone and the parent can’t pay for it because it is too expensive,” she said.
Next year, Ford wants to focus on bringing other businesses to her space and hiring help. She also wants to do some more school events.
Her goal, she says, has always been structured on giving back to the community.
“So like maybe helping hiring and training, you know, young entrepreneurs,” Ford said.
An event that Ford has been thinking about is one where kid entrepreneurs bring their business to her shack and sell.
“I wouldn’t mind if some kids brought their lemonade stands,” she added.
The Sugar Shack won’t reopen until late April or early May next year.
In the meantime, Ford hopes people see that she is there and come by more often when she opens. She posts her next cart locations on her social media pages and her website.
For information on placing pre-orders and menu items, visit sugar-bees-sweets.business.site.