Eight years ago, Tulsa native Josh Juarez was a 19-year-old college student looking to make some cash for school expenses so he could marry his high school sweetheart.
Offering a city with Baghdad-hot summers a bit of flavored, handheld snow seemed like a bankable idea.
Four Josh’s Sno Shacks later, Juarez, 27, has created a household name in Tulsa.
“I saw there was no real night life for people in Tulsa and wanted to create a place to hang out that’s positive,” Juarez said.
So the Northeastern State University alumnus decided to make a spot for fun, safe socializing to occur.
His major in college? Business.
“Most of what I understood in school was by doing,” said Juarez, who is married to his high school sweetheart and is now working on his MBA.
Juarez’s selective hiring practices and emphasis on crafting the smoothest ice possible set his shaved ice stands apart from the competition, he said.
For Tulsans, getting sno cones from Josh’s offers the chance to park, pull down truck beds and mingle in the summer night.
“If you ask Tulsa natives what they think of when you say ‘summer,’ they’ll say Josh’s and QuickTrip,” said sophomore JJ Johnson, who has worked at the sno shacks for three years.
“It’s part of the culture.”
The shacks open in April and close in late October. On opening day, customers sometimes wait more than three hours to taste their first icy delight of the season, Johnson said.
Junior Daniel Dickie lives in Tulsa and also works at Josh’s. The mechanical engineering major said local high school seniors often plan their senior skip days around Josh’s April launch.
ORU students can look for Josh’s at various events throughout the year, including Partiestival and Student Association’s annual Picnic on the Lawn.
“It’s not summer for very much longer,” Dickie said. “So you might as well get a taste of it while you can.”