A Summertime Staple: The Snow Cone LadyJun 01, 2022 ● By Stephen Hunt
For many, their worth is measured by how many people they positively impact during their time on Earth. Mary Mathis Sanchez, better known as the Frisco Snow Cone Lady, has positively impacted thousands of lives through her snow cone stand, located at 6427 Elm St. in downtown Frisco.
Recently, Sanchez, along with members of her family and staff, opened the beloved stand for the 40th consecutive year – a milestone that is hard for this affable Frisco icon to fathom. She is as much a part of summers here as fireworks on the Fourth of July.
“I can’t believe it’s been 40 years,” Sanchez, who turned 75 in April, told Frisco STYLE recently. “I’m like, `Where did the time go?’ ... It’s just been phenomenal for me for the 40 years. I’ve loved every minute of it. I love the people and I love to see them grow up. It’s just as sweet as it can be.”
Sanchez’s daughter, Brandi Hampton, started working at the stand when she was 10 and considers 40 years in business to be an amazing milestone. However, she gives as much credit to Frisco as she does to her mother.
“It’s amazing to think that my mom could, back in the ‘80s, open her own business and (have) it thrive and last for this long,” Hampton said. “It says a lot about not only my mom, but the people in this community.”
The Snow Cone Lady is open Tuesdays through Saturdays. Anyone who has visited the stand in the summertime knows that lines can be quite long at times, but Sanchez and her employees work to ensure that the service is quick and that every customer – young and old – leaves with a smile on their face.
More than 50 flavors of snow cones are offered, including new concoctions from time to time. Prior to opening for the season, Sanchez was hesitant to reveal the new flavors for 2022. “I do have some ideas. … I’ll try a couple (flavors) and (see) which ones do the best – that’s what we’ll go with. There’s no better truth-teller than to see if (customers) make a face (after tasting it) or if they really like it.”
Truly Humble Beginnings
Sanchez grew up in Durant, Oklahoma. She remembers tasting her first snow cone at one of her brother’s Little League games, it’s sweet syrup running out the bottom of the cup.
She moved to Frisco in 1972 and opened a snow cone stand for the first time a decade later, entering the business after her then-teenage son, Shane, suggested that she purchase the local stand where he worked.
“I was a single mom and had two kids. I thought, `It doesn’t sound like a bad idea,’” Sanchez recalled. “I went to my mother and talked to her about it. She said, `Let’s go to the bank, get you a little loan to buy the stand.’”
Since that inaugural year, visits to the Snow Cone Lady’s stand have become an integral part of summer for many Frisco residents who say the season doesn’t officially start until they can enjoy their first frozen treat from there.
The Snow Cone Lady has legions of loyal customers due in large part to the great snow cones and solid customer service it offers as well as the magnetic personality of Sanchez, who loves seeing the smiles on her customers’ faces, especially the youngest ones.
Aaron Wiginton is among that group. For three decades since moving to Frisco when he was four years old, he has been a frequent customer and never deviates from ordering the flavor he first enjoyed as a child.
“My dad was the first person that took me (to the stand). I had a cherry snow cone … and have never had another flavor from (Sanchez) in my entire life,” he said. “I started going to Mary when she was on Main Street between a mom-and-pop convenience store. She’s moved locations a couple times since then. I’ve known her since she had a little 3x3 hut with a small ice shaving machine. She was the destination for Frisco treats.”
A Local Institution
Frisco’s downtown water tower is one iconic image many associate with the city, and many people argue that Sanchez is worthy of equal billing as a local institution and icon. However, such labels are of little concern to The Snow Cone Lady. “I know they say that all the time, but I’m just me,” she said. “I’m nobody special. I don’t go looking for praise. I just enjoy what I do and want to make people happy.”
Hampton, her daughter, agrees that becoming a local institution was never a goal for her mother. Still, she finds it humbling that Frisco has embraced Sanchez over the past four decades.
“She always had the philosophy of keeping prices low so any child that walked by could afford a snow cone,” Hampton said. “As a little kid, I was always like, ‘Let’s raise the prices so I can get a cool car.’ … But she took the time and explained it to me. I think that’s why everybody loves her so much. She’s just being the great person she is.”
Wiginton agrees. Not only does Sanchez and her staff make a great snow cone, but he said they also make every customer feel good and refreshed on hot summer days.
“She’s a staple of the community honestly,” Wiginton said. “She makes you feel good inside. She’s one of the last parts of old Frisco. If you’re used to going to a Friday night football game, she’s in that same breath. … She could have retired … but she’s made it a part of her life to be part of Frisco. That’s where the uniqueness of Mary the Snow Cone Lady comes in.”
Over the past four decades, Sanchez has brightened the lives of thousands and quenched more than a few summer thirsts at her downtown Frisco stand. Making and selling snow cones remains a labor of love for her. “There is nothing like a child’s smile to brighten your day,” she said.
Stephen Hunt is a Frisco-based freelance writer and self-appointed snow cone connoisseur.