Young entrepreneur chills out with new business

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By February, she had a business plan in her head - a way to earn some extra cash.

She knew how much the equipment would cost, how much she'd have to fork out for supplies. She was aware she'd have to pay rent and utility bills.

When she presented the plan to her trusted confidante (her mother) on a Friday at lunch, it was met with great support.

Her new business was a go.

But it would have to wait until the summer, when she finished sixth grade.

In the meantime, Shelby Pinski, then age 11, would have to work at Sippin Cow, her mom Christy Pinski's restaurant in Bluffton's Promenade, to earn enough money to buy the necessary equipment and supplies for her new ice cream business, to be located on the premises.

"I had to work my way up," said Shelby, now 12. "I bussed tables, delivered food and washed dishes. It took a few months."

When she had saved enough, "I bought two coolers on eBay for $100," she said. "Then I bought the gazebo. It was almost $200."

The gazebo now shelters the ice cream business on the back patio at Sippin Cow, a cozy spot with a few tables, some shade and fresh air.

Why ice cream as a business plan? "Anything else would have seemed 'off' for my mom's restaurant," said the entrepreneur.

The two talked about costs, a budget, and what to do with any profits. After expenses, half goes into a savings account, and half is for Shelby to spend as she pleases. Her first purchase was an iPhone.

The next item on her wish list is a kitten, either a Blue Russian Persian (about $100), or a gray longhair Persian (from $400 to $1,000). "That's the one I really want," Shelby said.

Shelby, a rising seventh grader at Hilton Head Preparatory School, also wants to buy a car someday. "I would like to buy a Volkswagen Beetle, an older one, even if it's broken," she said. "I would hope to get it fixed by the time I'm old enough to drive."

The new business is open from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. (While Shelby is in school or away, staff members will work it for her, Christy said.)

Offerings include vanilla (the most popular, Shelby said), chocolate and strawberry ice cream, served in a cup or a waffle bowl, which is made from scratch with her mom's recipe; and ice cream milkshakes. Toppings, such as fresh fruit and sprinkles, cost extra.

"My mom also is working on a vegan ice cream recipe," Shelby said. It is made from purple sweet potatoes. "It tastes great," Christie said.

Sippin Cow Ice Cream is located on the patio at 36 Promenade.

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