Business owner Sheila Crowe has been a community fixture while running Pinky’s SnowCones & Snacks from a food truck trailer for the last six years. Now, Crowe is ready to set up shop at her own brick-and-mortar location, with plans to build and open The Crowe’s Nest from the same location within the next year.
Located at 905 W. 5th Street, Crowe said she has no plans to close Pinky’s down. Her new restaurant will include the array of snow cones, baked goods and other snacks that Pinky’s is known for, but The Crowe’s Nest will offer a variety of soul food as well.
After buying the property years ago, Crowe said it’s been a longtime goal of hers to open up her own restaurant. For the last several months, she’s been working on developing her business plan and securing the permits needed to start the building process.
“I want to own it,” she said. “I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars renting somewhere when I can’t get a loan, paying hundreds of dollars, and not owning it.”
Crowe said she’s been envisioning the brick-and-mortar location for a long time, and that she knows exactly what she wants it to look like — all the way down to the electrical outlets and ceiling fans.
The building will be on the smaller side, Crowe said, encompassing roughly 1,000 square feet of space. Customers can order and receive their food efficiently through a “cafeteria-style” method of service.
“It’s not a sit-down restaurant, and I didn’t want that anyway, even before COVID,” she said. “It’s simpler to do it this way.”
Crowe had drawn up her building’s design, but after reaching out to Kizer Construction owner Aaron Kizer, she learned she’d need an architect to draw the official documents.
In securing a loan to build her new restaurant, Crowe has had to price everything — including supply and labor costs, inventory and utilities — as part of her business plan. All of the documents and logistics needed have already been obtained through a meticulous process that Crowe has taken very seriously.
“I want to make sure I have it all lined up,” she said. “I don’t want to get this and found out, ‘Hey, this isn’t right. You need to get this.’ I want to know how hard everything is from the get.”
Some things have fallen into place through helpful support from Crowe’s community. When the planning commission told her she needed to secure a costly earthquake impact study for her business, they said it was possible to use one from another building in the area that had been built within the last five years.
Crowe, who donates regularly to the Daniel Pitino Shelter, said she reached out to the nonprofit about that study. They provided her with everything she needed, saving her $5,000.
Other issues, such as rising lumber prices and delays in shipping, have been taken into account too. Crowe said she’s now considering using pole barn materials instead of lumber to bring costs down and get business up and running as soon as possible.
If all goes according to plan, Crowe said she would like to have The Crowe’s Nest built by next spring, with hopes to have her business plan approved and permits granted by the time she closes Pinky’s down for the season in September.
“It’s going to happen, as long as God gives me the days,” she said. “That’s all I need.”