Some shave ice shops facing ice shortages due to high demand

It’s been getting really hot this summer, so many have been turning to a local favorite to cool off, shaved ice.

However, because of the high demand, some shops are finding it harder to stay stocked up on ice.

Customers walking in to Hawaii’s Favorite Kitchens Monday after 3:30 p.m. for Shimazu Shave Ice were disappointed to find a sign at the register saying, “Sorry, out of ice.”

“It does bum me out. It’s so hot. Plus they [have] a lot a lot of flavors over here too,” said customer, Tyson Tanaka.

“Last week, we’ve been closing at 6 p.m. or 5 p.m. because we just run out of ice during that time, and that was almost every day,” said Kendall Shimazu, Shimazu Shave Ice Owner. “It’s hard to make it through a single day without running out of ice.”

Last friday, Shimazu said they weren’t able to open, because they had no ice at all.

“It’s getting rough. It’s not good to close…. disappointing customers and losing out on a whole day of business,” said Shimazu.

He said it’s gotten so bad that they’ve had to stop selling the large Shimazu Shave Ice cones.

The other Shimazu Store on North King has only been selling kid’s size cones to make their ice supply last longer.

He said usually they use up about 12 blocks of ice, but lately they’ve been using up up to 20 blocks of ice.

Their supplier HTK Hawaii Inc, one of the biggest shave ice suppliers on Oahu, said summer has always been the busiest season for block ice but this year, demand has been really high.

“This season is especially really busy because it’s just so hot this year,” said William Hsia, H.T.K. Hawaii Inc. Director. “Summer started pretty late, so you know we didn’t expect such a huge increase in the temperature starting in May. When May got really hot, we just surged and we couldn’t meet the demand because we only can make 400 blocks.”

His advice for his customers is to get larger refrigerators to hold extra block ice and to stock up earlier.

Hsia said that way, they can gain a greater supply of ice beforehand.

Other shops like Waiola Shave Ice and Ice Monster say they haven’t felt the shortage because they make their own ice for their shave ice mixtures.

As for Shimazu Shave Ice, the owner said he’s thinking about investing in an ice machine of his own, so they have extra and never run out.

Shimazu said a machine like that costs about $6,000 dollars, not including maintenance.

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