Penguin Pit Stop is proudly owned by Scott & Marsha Hunzeker with special help running the shop provided by daughters Alexis and Kennedy. This is a little bit of the backstory of how things came to be.
Penguin Pit Stop is really about two things - shaved ice and products locally made in Nebraska. It may seem like an odd combination, but there is a method to our madness (keep reading, we'll get there eventually).
Shaved ice is a staple in many of the southern states - there are stands all over the place during the summer. It isn't nearly as common in northern states (including Nebraska) but long ago there was a place in Lincoln, Nebraska that served shaved ice during the summer months and closed for the winter. Growing up in Lincoln, this was one of Scott's favorite places to visit and he would often dream about opening his own little shaved ice business. Sadly, they closed one winter and didn't open the following spring.
Fast forward several years - Scott & Marsha met, got married, and started a small home-based business called Hunzeker Frameables. For several years, items were sold at the Lincoln Haymarket Farmers' Market, local arts & craft shows, and in a few retail locations.
After the birth of their first daughter, it got to be more difficult to work full-time during the week and travel to area arts & craft shows on the weekends while raising a child. Marsha left her full-time job to focus on motherhood and making jewelry in her "free time" to sell at weekend shows.
Somewhere along the way, a few new shaved ice places popped up in Lincoln. They used the same machines and syrups that Scott had loved growing up and his love for shaved ice was reborn. Sadly, these new places did not stay open long, but they offered enough of a taste to cause Scott and Marsha to get their own shaved ice machine and supplies and start the process of creating a business plan.
Anyone who knows Nebraska winters would understand that shaved ice is a tough sell when there's a 10 degree below zero windchill and eight inches of snow on the ground. However, in the summer when it's 105 degrees outside, it is a perfect treat. Instead of opening a shop that would only offer shaved ice and likely be closed several months a year (but pay rent every month) the decision was made to expand the kinds of products offered. Both from their own experiences, and In talking with vendors at arts & craft shows, it was apparent that there was a need for a place for local businesses to showcase their items year-round. Though different kinds of items have distinct seasonal patterns, the biggest retail time of the year for most is the Christmas shopping season in November and December.
Conveniently, the shaved ice "season" of late spring through early fall and the retail season of fall and early winter offset each other perfectly. This doesn't mean that there aren't people buying shaved ice when it is 10 below, nor does it mean that retail items aren't sold in the middle of July, but that's the beauty of how things work out - both are available all year. So, while shaved ice and Nebraska-made items aren't necessarily something that you'd think are a good match, they fit together very nicely at Penguin Pit Stop.