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6/6/2004

Summer Oasis

By Brandon Johansson
The Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT — Two 19-year-old Longmont residents have given the city a little taste of the Big Easy.

Ben Metevier and Jeremy Hawkins opened Oasis: New Orleans Style Snowballs at Twin Peaks Mall last month.

Oasis is the blue shack in the mall’s west parking lot, near Country Buffet.

The duo tried to open the shack on Pearl Street in Boulder earlier this summer, but had problems with the landlord and lasted only a week.

When the the pair left Boulder, they decided to move their shack to Longmont.

“The mall’s been great,” Hawkins said.

A snowball is a type of snow-cone popular at street-corner shacks in New Orleans. Oasis currently offers 54 snowball flavors, but the pair say they will add more in the coming weeks.

They also serve bottled water and pralines — pronounced pray-leen — a convection made with caramel and nuts popular in the South. The pralines are made by Metevier’s mother.

Metevier, who was born in New Orleans on Mardi Gras, said Oasis is the only snowball shack in Colorado.

“My dad had the idea to bring one here a few years back,” he said.

Oasis is just a summer job for the pair of 2003 Niwot High School graduates.

In the fall, Hawkins will continue to attend Front Range Community College. He hopes to attend bible school in Japan in the spring.

In January, Metevier will attend bible school in Missouri.

Both men are active with Rocky Mountain Christian Church in Niwot, and credit much of their success in getting their business off the ground to God.

Hawkins and Metevier have had numerous business plans in the past, including one for a clothing line, but this is the first one they’ve seen through.

“It’s been a lot of work,” Hawkins said.

The pair said the toughest part of opening the shack was getting all the required licenses.

Their goal is to pay off family and friends who invested money in the shack by the end of the summer and to make enough to pay for school.

“It’s nice working for yourself,” Hawkins said.

Metevier agreed, saying he would rather make $5 an hour working for himself than be paid $8 an hour by someone else.

Later in the summer they plan to add sugar-free snowballs and condensed-milk snowballs to the menu.

They also hope to cater Cajun-style food such as crawfish and gumbo sometime down the road.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 389, or by e-mail at bjohansson@times-call.com.