Downtown Cool with The Nomadik Few
Shaved Ice with The Nomadik Few
At first, Greenville city officials looked at the guys as if they needed a shave—so Sean Conn, with the shaggy black mane and beard, and Jamie Williams, who has unruly blond dreads, gave ‘em one . . . and then another . . . and another. And now Main Street has plenty of shaves, thanks to The Nomadik Few serving up gourmet ice treats in the very shadow of City Hall.
Conn and Williams, best friends since elementary school here in Greenville, opened their vending business last summer. Their goal? “Funship,” Conn says. More than that, though, “shave ice,” as it’s called in its most popular locale, Hawaii, is something of a passion for the two. “We never felt like it was being taken seriously.”
The two take their enterprise as seriously as it’s been taken in Japan since the 12th century. Conn and Williams bring some modern mixology to their 36 classic flavors and 27 organic syrups, all of them jammed into the 6-by-4-foot shack the two built mostly out of wooden shipping pallets.
Classic flavors include kid-friendly Blue Bubblegum, Dreamsicle, Tutti Frutti and the like. The duo cooks up such organics as Caramel, Blueberry, Banana Foster and Apple Pie themselves, blended into prepared syrups that are all-organic, kosher, gluten- and dye-free and vegan.
On a Monday afternoon, Williams is off building a second shack to expand their red-hot ice dynasty. And through a cool drizzle, customers keep dropping by for snow-fine mounds drenched in flavor. “It’s ridiculous,” Joe Holloway, a Clemson campus minister tells passersby of his Red Velvet Cake-with-Caramel cup. “It’s epic. Three bucks, you can’t beat it.”
And then a couple of beat cops walk up. (No worries, the guys have all the requisite permits, despite, Conn says, initial resistance from city officials who thought that hippies would start taking over downtown.) Officer E.B. Bryant pays for his kid-friendly Pink Cotton Candy, and the two Greenville policemen wander off with smiles and low-cal desserts.
It’s all pretty chill, a cool way to make people happy.
“I love creating things for people,” Conn says, “and now you’re getting it in a way you’ve never seen it before. I love taking this kind of stuff, and making it brand new.”
The Nomadik Few
Corner of Main Street and Broad Street
Noon to 10pm