"We hear stories all the time of people coming here after losing a parent or needing a respite from whatever they are experiencing. Those are the stories that keep me going when owning a small business feels daunting. I have to remember what God is doing through Shivers."
When Chad Reeves ('01) and his wife, Rachael, moved to Longview, they were looking to open a coffee shop. God gave them a snow cone stand instead.
"When Rachael and I moved to East Texas, it was a huge leap of faith," Chad said. "We had a place to live, but neither of us had jobs. We knew we wanted to do something that created community, but we were quickly priced out of traditional brick and mortar options. One night Rachael saw a family selling their snow cone business on Craigslist and our wheels started turning from there."
The couple slightly modified the business and decided to sell handcrafted snow cones with fresh fruit syrups using no dyes or corn syrup out of a vintage Airstream trailer.
The week Shivers was due to open in 2015, Chad and Rachael decided to give away free snow cones for their grand opening. The couple wasn't expecting to serve more than 40 customers.
"The first day we were open I brought a book," Chad said. "It was pouring rain and I thought we would be lucky to have 10 customers. Then, droves of people started showing up with their umbrellas. We ended up serving 400 people and sold out in 2.5 hours. We couldn't believe it."
Shivers now has three locations and roughly 30 employees. Even though it's far from a coffee shop, the Reeves' snow cone stand has become everything they had hoped it would be.
"This place almost has shalom over it," Chad said. "We hear stories all the time of people coming here after losing a parent or needing a respite from whatever they are experiencing. Those are the stories that keep me going when owning a small business feels daunting. I have to remember what God is doing through Shivers."
Chad equates the atmosphere at Shivers to what he experienced during his time at ETBU.
"For me, ETBU felt a lot like how Shivers feels for other people now," Chad said. "ETBU was a haven for me. I was surrounded by people, who believed what I believed, wanted what was best for me, and cared about what was going on in my life. It was an incredibly formative time in my life."
During his time at ETBU, God used the people at ETBU to grow Chad's faith.
"ETBU was a safe place for me to ask hard questions and figure out what I believe," Chad said. "I was allowed to wrestle with God, so when it came time for me to leave I felt confident that I could tackle whatever God called me to."