Frost Bites, specializing in Hawaiian shave ice, homemade frozen custard, fresh lemonade and soda floats, has provided sweet treats for Seaside locals and visitors since 1994, when the first Airstream trailer opened on what would eventually be known as Airstream Row. In 2004, Mike Gullett purchased the place.
“When I first got here, it was the only Airstream, just me and the post office,” Gullett says. “A year later another Airstream came, which sold sushi. But that didn’t last long so it was just me again. Suddenly more and more Airstreams started coming and I wasn’t sure how it would affect my business. But it worked out great. Their idea of Airstream Row is spot on.”
When he bought Frost Bites, Gullett, a father of four, had a vision of helping families make new memories at the beach, as well as reliving old ones. That tradition continues today with photo ops, refreshing cold desserts and the friendliest of employees. Joined by his wife, Chance, Frost Bites has become a family affair with children, siblings and even an occasional grandparent pitching in.
Nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer’s day than a cold treat. Frost Bite’s specialty desserts are made from a fine ice that is more like snow than ice. “We shave using the finest blades to produce a cold treat like no other,” says Mike, who also has a bicycle cart offering shave ice to customers nearby. “In the summer we get extremely long lines, so the bicycle cart alleviates the wait for people.”
With a rainbow spectrum of flavors including strawberry, mango, passion fruit, root beer, raspberry, coconut, orange and watermelon, among others, Frost Bites has something for everyone — even those who want a sour or sugar-free treat. Over the years, Mike and Chance added new flavors. “Chance came up with a mixture I thought was a terrible idea,” Mike says. “It was custard at the bottom of the cup and flavored shave ice on top. It’s spectacular, and we sell them like they’re going out of style.”
A best seller, the Piggly Wiggly is a stuffed shave ice with custard on the bottom and cream on the top and a gummy pig on top of the cream. With a fun line of T-shirts and tank tops, available at Frost Bites or at their online shop (frostbitesseaside.com), everyone can bring home a souvenir from the Airstream that serves their favorite frosty treats.
As part of their community outreach, the Gulletts donate time and products to charities related to cancer, addiction and animals.
One of the Gulletts’ favorite charities — Lighthouse Family Retreat, an organization serving children with cancer — holds annual family-fun retreats in Seaside, WaterColor, Rosemary Beach, Seacrest and Gulf Place, among other nearby beach towns. Mike knows the pain a family goes through when dealing with cancer. His oldest son, Nic, was diagnosed with a rare cancer and given nearly no chance to live, at 10 years old. “He’s 41 now,” Mike Gullett says. “He has gone on to graduate from North Carolina and has received a law degree.” The kids who attend the retreats are given a free T-shirt and all the sweet frozen treats they want.
Alaqua Animal Refuge, a Freeport-based animal sanctuary that
provides protection, shelter and care to animals in need, is another
charity the Gulletts are involved in. During the animal refuge outreach
events, Frost Bites donates proceeds from shave ice and other treat
sales, as well as T-shirt sales. “We’ve even adopted a dog or two out
there,” says Gullett.
Camel Club, a local organization specializing in addiction recovery; Shelter House and Haven House, both of which provide temporary emergency housing and supportive services to homeless families; Long Island Bulldog Rescue and Bullies to the Rescue, two bulldog rescue organizations, all benefit from the contributions of Frost Bites. The Gulletts have an English bulldog named Dapple, and two French bulldogs — Tweeny and Bali.