It all started in June of 2017, when Ali’s next-door neighbor gave her a small, used snow cone machine. Always loving the summertime favorite, she quickly searched for snow cone syrups to buy online. She was surprised there were no options without high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, flavors and dyes. Not wanting to give those additives to her then 8-year-old son and 1 ½ year-old daughter, she tried to look up natural recipes to make her own, but none existed. Still wanting to give her kids the summertime nostalgia of eating snow cones, Ali thought of possible recipes to make her syrups. Eventually, in June of 2018 she started experimenting and found that her recipes were delicious! That summer, whenever visitors came to the house, she had them sample snow cone flavors. They all resoundingly said – “You should sell these!”
That summer, Ali started working on creating Oba’s All Natural, LLC. She enjoyed the challenge of starting her own business and making it unique. As an Environmental Science Teacher, Ali attended multiple STEM conferences and local environmental action groups. Feeling a sense of empowerment, she decided to use her business to make a change. Oba’s would be a vector to bring about environmental awareness and promote action.
Ali decided early that she did not want to cut corners by using cheap ingredients. As a past volunteer at her friends’ Organic CSA, Ali believes in many benefits of using organic ingredients whenever possible. All of the sugar used in her syrups is organic and she is hoping to certify her syrups as USDA organic in the near future.
To provide snow cones at festivals and events without electricity, Ali worked out a battery system to run her snow cone machine off renewable resources. In addition to lessening the business’s carbon footprint, this eliminates the stinky fumes and noise pollution from a generator.
Ali lives in Broomall, PA with her family. She continues to be an Environmental Science Teacher at Methacton High School.
So how did Oba’s get its name? It’s all in the family - Owen, Brooke, Ali and Shawn!
Photo credit: Mark Tassoni Photography