Hot summer months have customers lining up at Quintessential Sweets for the chilled confections they can enjoy to beat the heat.
They will find his shop in the old Stinkerbell’s location in Bartlett. It has a walk-up window and picnic tables for customers who want to sit down and savor their treats.
Flavored Snow has the texture of its name, smooth and fine-grained snow, with fruity flavors. Favorites include cherry and blue raspberry, Wedding Cake, Tiger’s Blood, Jolly Rancher and lemonade, made the oldfashioned way with fresh-squeezed lemons.
Owner Christopher Gray also has experimental flavors for foodie customers who like to taste something new: Try the Avocado-Lada, made with coconut, pineapple and lime juice but no added sugar.
A generous slice of Key Lime Pie or cheesecake on a stick is just the ticket for heartier appetites, and classics like caramel and candied apples are also part of the menu, to name just a few.
Gray and his wife, Cassandra, opened the business last July and saw their customer traffic spike up during the hottest months. The seasonal business is open eight to nine months each year, including Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day when the chocolate-dipped strawberries are a big hit.
Gray himself is the one behind the food service, and his wife handles the bookkeping and social media presence for their business.
He invites customers to visit his website or Facebook page, then stop by, look over the menu and ask for a sample.
“I just believe in treating everybody the way I want to be treated,” he said.
He enjoys making his customers happy with the special treats, and running his own business is very satisfying.
“I’ve always been entrepreneurial-minded,” he said. “It started out when I was young. I would try to sell everything.”
In high school he would sell a mix of sugar and Kool-Aid or be the potato chip provider for hungry classmates.
Gray is an experienced entrepreneur, having previously operated J’s Italian Ice at Wolfchase Galleria up until about five years ago. That’s when he opened a bungee jumping operation that was a success until the economy crashed. He closed the bungee jumping business around 2013.
He also still has his janitorial service, Janitor Pro, and his brother will be taking that over soon.
Quintessential Sweets was slow last summer until word spread. Then he served about 2,000 customers a month at peak.
Flavored snow is his most popular product. It’s distinctive from crushed or shaved ice because the texture really is as fine-grained as snow.
His second best-seller is the Q Bar, an ice cream bar drizzled with chocolate and caramel and topped with pecans. The cheesecake on a stick ranks about third among his customers.
The business recently inroduced homemade ice cream, and customers are also enjoying chocolate-dipped Oreos, he said.
Quintessential Sweets also participates in rewards programs like a digital punch card and the Grizzlies Reward Bank.
People who don’t live in Bartlett also will see Quintessential Sweets at area special events, such as this weekend’s Arlington in April.