A physician and an engineer may not seem a likely pair to open a Bahama Buck’s franchise, but they are excited about the opportunities.
Dr. Collins and Adelaide Appiah, who have been married 18 years, say they are on track to open around Election Day, Nov. 3. It is their first foray into owning any kind of franchise.
“The first of what we hope are many,” said Collins Appiah, who is a hospitalist in Gilbert.
Bahama Buck’s is finishing construction on the east side of the Walmart parking lot near the intersection of Porter Road and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. The shaved-ice emporium has been around since 1990, but this will be the company’s debut in Maricopa.
“Of all the areas, we really felt Maricopa felt the most like home,” Collins Appiah said. “We could see ourselves and our kids living here.”
The town, they said, reminded them of Gilbert 12 years ago, when it was still a small but growing city.
“We felt that the Porter Road location was close to a lot of subdivisions and communities and schools and all that,” Collins said. “So, we wanted to be in close proximity where families don’t have to travel so far to get a treat.”
Bahama Buck’s shaved ice, which the company calls Sno, comes with more than 70 individual flavors. The smoothies include fruit blends and ice cream blends. There are also other drinks.
They have hired about 30 employees. Hours are likely to be Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-11 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
The Appiahs first experienced Bahama Buck’s when one of their two daughters was rewarded for good citizenship at her school with a BEEP (Buck’s Encouraging Education Program) VIP coupon.
“We had to go redeem it, so we had to go into the store,” Collins said. “She had the coupon to redeem, but we all ended up getting one.”
Adelaide said they had always seen the long lines at the Bahama Buck’s near their church and had wondered what the fuss was about.
“It says Bahama, so we thought maybe they sell Caribbean food,” she said.
For that reason, she was confused why her daughters wanted to try it because they “don’t even like spicy food.” Once they went in and saw what it was and tried it for themselves, she called it “heaven in a cup.”
Adelaide’s favorite item is the cotton candy “Bahama rama mama” style (ice cream and Sno with flavor added). Collins goes for the strawberry colada in the same style.
“It’s anything to do with flavor. We’ve raised flavor to an art form,” Adelaide said. “The mantra for Bahama Buck’s is ‘Flavor your life,’ and it’s who we are and what we do.”
Collins said the store will create a “fun, relaxed, family atmosphere.”
Though this is their first time in such a venture, the Appiahs went through training, which included working at a corporate store and experiencing how a store should operate. They also know how to make all the menu items.
There will be capacity inside for up to 49 and more seating on the patio.
Originally from Ghana, the Appiahs have been in Gilbert since 2008 and are buying a home in Maricopa. They moved to Arizona from New York and before that lived in South Carolina, where Adelaide had post-graduate studies at Clemson University.
This August, they celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary. When Adelaide wanted to pursue a graduate degree in chemical engineering shortly after they married, Collins realized he either had to come with her to the United States while she pursued her studies or he was going to live the life of a bachelor. He came stateside for residency training.
They now have two daughters, ages 14 and 12. Their oldest wants to work in the store and even picked up an application and was interviewed.
Collins will maintain his practice in Gilbert, where Adelaide had been his office manager, but he is now hospital-based, on for a week and off for a week. Adelaide will manage Bahama Buck’s full time.
Word got out early about applications for a Bahama Buck’s going through the City’s permitting process. While the Appiahs were unknown in Maricopa at the time, the owner of the Ahwatukee franchise passed along feedback from his Maricopa customers who daily inquired what he knew about a new store.
When they created their Facebook page, even more excitement was created. They have tracked the months-long construction progress there for their potential customers.
Adelaide Appiah said the permitting process through the City has been “excellent” as they and their construction crew try to hit their own timelines to land a certificate of occupancy in time for the planned opening. The opening date is contingent on that certificate.
“They are really wonderful people. Very good communicators,” Collins said. “They want to help you and make your dreams come true.”