Kool Kats closes for winter

Employee Amanda Vore makes a shaved ice treat Nov. 13 at Maryville's Kool Kats. Kool Kats recently announced that the business will be closing its doors for the winter months on Nov. 16 until April 2020. 

Closing its doors for the chilly winter months, Kool Kats in Maryville will return to a seasonal business, seeing the winter as an opportunity to make improvements for the spring and summer when the small business profits the most.

Kool Kats owner Leslie Ackman announced on the business’s Facebook page that she and the co-owner, Dave Ackman, decided to make the switch from a year-round business back to a seasonal business Nov. 5. The Kool Kats building will be closed Nov. 16, but the trailer they allow people to rent out for events will be available all winter.

The post included a thank you to customers for supporting the local business and announced a reopen date of April 2020, taking a little more than four months off to prepare for the influx of customers when the weather warms up.

Dave Ackman said the switch is largely sales dependant and related the decision to how Dairy Queen in Maryville used to close in the cold months because fewer people are paying for cold treats.

“We lost a significant amount of money when we stayed open November 2018 through February 2019,” Dave Ackman said. “Sales dropped 70% in just four weeks, and we are just not prepared to take that kind of hit this year.”

Ackman said Kool Kats is making the most of the change by planning building improvements, adding new menu items and investing heavily into the spring and summer.

“Since minimum wage is going up, we will be preparing for that adjustment as well,” Dave Ackman said. “We will have to think about the number of employees and what we want to serve.”

Kool Kats has been around for more than 25 years; the two previous owners before the Ackmans bought it 10 years ago. For the first three years of owning it, the Ackmans did not sell anything but planned out how to execute sales and conduct the business.

The Ackmans bought the building Kool Kats now resides in on South Main Street seven years ago, but at the time, they leased it out to Simply Siam, a Thai restaurant in Maryville.

Kool Kats moved into the building when the lease was up in 2018 and began serving food and drinks along with traditional cold treats like shaved ice and ice cream. Dave Ackman said the food turned out to be a big hit with local customers and will continue when the business reopens after winter.

Dave Ackman said customers can expect to see some new menu items in April 2020, the staple being smoothies, and possibly more food options.

Local fans of the business, though sad to see its doors close for the winter, are largely supportive and understanding of the decision.

Junior Laura Mott said she likes Kool Kats because of their deals like half price shakes and shaved ice.

“It’s perfect after a long day,” Mott said. “I am an avid sweet-lover, so I would certainly eat shaved ice in the winter.”

Dave Ackman said though there are probably people who may enjoy a cold treat on a cold day; he said Kool Kats wants to be a go-to place for people to cool off when it’s warm and enjoy a good meal.

“Our short hibernation won’t last long,” Dave Ackman said. “We will be back with even more to offer.”

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