When I was about 15 years old, the town of Falmouth in Cape Cod decided to replace an old train track with a biking trail that extended several miles to Woods Hole, a popular tourist hot spot. That summer I ventured from my family’s summer home to see what the new bike trail had to offer in places I had never seen due to overgrown weeds – and that was how I met Patrick. Patrick was only 14, yet already had a summer business that was raking in hundreds annually to go toward his future college tuition.
Patrick’s parents had made it clear at a young age that if he wanted to go to college, he was going to have to start saving early because they couldn’t afford the debt. His home was on an average Falmouth road – quiet and lazy, yet also bustling in the summer with people biking or walking to the beach. At the age of 12, he borrowed $1,000 to purchase a high quality shaved ice making machine and flavoring, and set up a table at the side of the road to sell shaved ice to the passerbys. It didn’t take long for the revenue to start flowing like water, and he gained regular customers who would specifically travel down his road to purchase his shaved ice. When Falmouth ripped out the railroad in favor of the trail, his business exploded. By the time I met him, his table had become a semi-permanent booth that boasted the shaved ice machine, dozens of flavors, fresh squeezed lemonade, other refreshments like Gatorade and Sprite, and even had a shady section off to the side with benches and tables. The bike trail brought a boom of tourists and natives from other towns, and he had already saved several thousand dollars when I first met him.
One thing I truly admired was his commitment to his original goal of saving the money for his future tuition. He was already a levelheaded businessman at the young age of 14, and the vast majority of his revenue went straight into his savings instead of his pockets. It was brilliant for him to realize at age 12 that virtually no one sold shaved ice in our area and in the surrounding towns, and he was able to capitalize on that advantage very quickly before others caught on and did the same. While I haven’t seen Patrick in a few years, I am quite confident that his business is still there, improving, and thriving during the hot Cape Cod summers.