For childhood friends Lizzie Weiler, Joanna Sochacka and Rachael Emanuelson, the summers of their youth included frequent stops at one place in particular.
It was at a seasonal storefront on Chicago’s south side that sold Hawaiian shaved ice.
Now, the three young women are sharing that experience with others at the business they opened on May 18.
Chain Ice is located on County Trunk Q – not far from the Indian Crossing Casino – on property that has been owned by Weiler’s family for decades.
“My dad was joking about it one day,” Weiler said of selling Hawaiian shaved ice.
The three women got serious about the idea after space on the property became available.
“We always knew we wanted to do something,” Sochacka said.
Weiler said, “We decided to put one here.”
Chain Ice is located in the building that most recently housed Waupaca County Coffee.
In the 1970s, Weiler’s great uncle, Paul Lorimer, ran a garage there. Her great aunt, Sarah Lorimer, ran a trading post in the building that fronts the property. Big City Trendz occupies that site today.
People bought such things as bread and eggs at the trading post, and Weiler said, “My grandma (Sarah Lorimer’s sister) also ran the general store in Camp Cleghorn.”
The family has a long association with Camp Cleghorn – dating back almost 70 years – and that is where Emanuelson, Sochacka and Weiler are living this summer.
They are leasing the Chain Ice space from Weiler’s father, Joe Mulligan, who helped them with the remodeling that began last August.
The project included updates to the lighting and restroom and fresh, bright coats of paint on the walls.
Then, they were ready for business.
Weiler says Hawaiian shaved ice is “like eating snow.”
They offer 40 different flavors, including a flavor of the day that they create themselves.
Customers can choose up to three different flavors, and two sizes are offered. Only cash is accepted.
“It’s family friendly, great for kids and inexpensive,” Weiler said. “Tax is already figured in on everything, so the prices are even. That makes it easy for children who visit. We modeled it after the shop back at home.”
Chain Ice is open from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It is closed on Tuesdays.
When teen dances are held at the casino on Wednesday evenings, the business will stay open past 10 p.m.
At 7 a.m on Saturdays, Weiler’s dad will be opening the store to sell coffee.
Old-fashioned candy, candles, gifts and homemade citronella products are also for sale at Chain Ice.
Weiler, Sochacka and Emanuelson are happy to be living and working here this summer.
In addition to running Chain Ice, they are all holding other jobs in the area.
Come fall, each will head back to college. Each of them will be a sophomore.
Weiler is studying political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Emanuelson is majoring in athletic training and sports management at Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill, and Sochacka is studying nursing at Moraine Valley Community College in Chicago.
The tip jar on the counter of their business goes toward their college funds.