Last month, Sault resident Sarah Lewis and her family were feeling charitable and decided to start a snowman building business for the community.
Their idea was that people could pay an amount of their choosing, and “order” a snowman to be made, or gift a snowman to be made for someone who may not be able to make one themselves. Lewis and her stepson and son would make the snowmen and half of the proceeds would go towards SickKids, the charity of Lewis’ stepson Wyatt’s choosing.
At the start, the business wasn’t going as well as they hoped, even after trying to advertise their idea on Facebook. No orders were coming their way. However, once word was spread through a feature on SooToday, they started receiving more orders than they could even keep track of.
Lewis and the boys have been out building snowmen since the night their story was published, building for businesses as well as residential houses.
“People have ordered their own snowmen, and people have gifted snowmen to friends or family as a surprise. We even got a donation from out of town. They just wanted to contribute to the cause and for us to build for somebody that could use a snowman,” Lewis said.
“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity in our community especially in such difficult times. It has been so pleasantly surprising to see how far-reaching the positive effect has been of these snowmen on friends, family, neighbours and even just passers-by. Wyatt’s goal has grown from his original goal of a $100 donation for SickKids to an end goal of being able to donate $1,000 to the cause and we are proud to say we are more than halfway there,” she said.
“Wyatt’s been having a lot of fun with it,” Lewis said. “It gets us out and with everything going on it’s nice to be outside doing something positive. Everybody’s comments when they see us have been so overwhelmingly positive. It’s been great.”
But business has been a little different than what they had originally forecasted.
“The night the article was posted was actually the last day that snow would even formulate into snowballs. As the orders kept rolling in that evening I started to get anxious. Orders kept coming in and every single one was so excited for their snowman. We were out that night rolling snowballs in the front yard until almost midnight. The neighbours must have thought we were COVID coping in a very strange way. We rolled until we couldn’t anymore and managed 120 snowballs,” Lewis said.
“The next morning we realized it was a good thing we did because if we hadn’t then we still today wouldn’t have been able to fill even one order because of the weather,” she said.
To date, Lewis and the kids have constructed over 24 snowmen for some very happy customers.
“We’ve had to adapt far from the traditional snowman building ways. Our team shows up equipped with every tool needed to get the job done right. A saw so that the ice balls will stack, a hammer and nails for the eyes and mouth, a chisel and drill to get the carrot nose and arms intact and many jugs of water to help bond everything so that the snowmen can generate smiles for months,” she said.
Lewis would like to thank everyone for their kindness, understanding and support through their journey in this business. The family will keep building until all of the snowballs are gone and then re-evaluate based on temperatures.