What do you do with a little kids battery operated Barbie Jeep? You tear it apart and build a cart for the beach so you can sell Shaved Ice. In 2015, father and son, Bill and David did just that. Avid beach-goers and entrepreneurs, they thought of creating a motorized cart that would go up and down the beach selling Shaved Ice. If nothing else, it would be a way to torture their relatives back in Pennsylvania. Little did they know, a few years later they would be creating and building remote controlled motorized vending carts for the most famous themeparks in the world.
What started as a creation in a one car garage, has turned into the two of them learning to weld, create engineered drawings, and continuing to refine the cart and their skills with each version they have created. This certainly didn't happen over night. The two have spent thousands of hours engineering the final version of the cart. Starting from a used electric wheelchair, a transmission lift, and deep-cycle batteries, each version has brought about new and challenging improvements.
After building the initial prototype out of wood and a Barbie Jeep, the two moved on to an electric wheelchair to power the cart up and down the beach, all the while not knowing if they could even use such a thing. After they built the second model, the two trailered the cart to the City of Cape Canaveral to show the idea. At first, the City said that they didn’t allow such things on the beach. But, with a little persuasion, a few of the city officials we intrigued with the idea and went outside for a look.
After showing the cart on the beach to council members, the City agreed to send it to a vote with the city council. It was agreed that the two would be given a six-month trial with the cart on the beach, and if all went well, a two-year agreement would be in place. The summer saw the two completing many trials and errors. Along the way, Bill and David realized they were on to something. The response from the people on the beach was amazing. People were waiting for them every weekend to motor on by and enjoy one of their Shaved Ices on those hot summer days on the beach.
After the six-month trial was up, they went in to talk about the signing of the two-year agreement. They were told that instead of two years, the city wanted to offer a five year contract because of all of the positive feedback they had received. The City of Cape Canaveral had to rewrite the ordinance in place so that they could use the cart to sell Shaved Ice up and down the beaches of Cape Canaveral.
During this time they presented their SANDBONI idea at 1 Million Cups, the “guppie tank” version of the television show “Shark Tank.” It was at this presentation that they teamed up with Accelergy Consulting. One of the founders of Accelergy had a contact at Disney that he wanted to show the cart. A meeting was scheduled with one of the Imagineers and later a “show and tell” with the park operators at Blizzard Beach. A few months later, a trial run of SANDBONI was tested in the park over the summer.
SANDBONI worked with the UCF School of Engineering to design and implement a robust drive system for the carts, driving the carts with Remote Control. They are in works to develop future enhancements with the school and the drive system.
SANDBONI has landed an agreements to provide carts to SeaWorld, Disney, Dippin Dots, and are in talks with other themeparks, stadiums, arenas, and national brands to provide the SANDBONIs as a vehicle to sell their products. What went from a somewhat crazy idea in a garage, a lot of hardwork, determination, creativity, and never giving up on an idea has proven to an experience of a lifetime for this father and son. And maybe it is all paying off. In July of 2020, they were granted a full utility patent on the SANDBONI carts from the United States Patent Office.