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Unique Wonders: Behind the shaved ice

By Nia Muldrow | Staff Reporter
On March 2, 2018

Photo credit: Unique Wonders

 

“I am a wife, a mother, then a business owner,” says Rochelle Johnson, co-owner of Unique Wonders on Lake Bradford Road.

Johnson’s partner in the business is her husband, Willie Johnson.

She was born and raised in Nassau in the Bahamas. This is where she learned “you have to do, what you have to do.” There were no child labor laws so she began working at the age of 8. She also realized that she wanted to be her own boss; she did not like the thought of working under someone else.

Johnson attended college in the Bahamas, studying biochemistry with a minor in physics. She then went on to attend a college in Missouri to obtain her master’s degree in business management and marketing.

While obtaining her master’s she got lucky and met the love of her life, Willie Johnson. Luckily, they had the same common goal: The need and want to help others, especially kids. Johnson loved kids. She had been told that she could not have children of her own and this motivated them to want to help even more.

Willie Johnson is originally from Tallahassee so it was not too hard of a task for them to get back to Florida’s capital city, except for one thing. Johnson wanted to go to Guyana to give back and help out but her husband persuaded her to stay.

They got married the summer of 2012 and found out that she was pregnant with their first son, Ryan.

Once they moved back to Tallahassee, the Johnsons were now recognized as “the candy lady” and “the candy man.” This is because they began selling shaved ice and other snacks out of their trailer. The pricing was extremely low because this was for the kids and they knew it would be easy for kids to find a dime or a quarter to simply enjoy a snack before or after school.

Eventually the Johnsons ended up selling their trailer and moving to their shop on Lake Bradford Road.

 They began to branch out by adding Bahamian cuisine to their menu and also Americanized foods. They have been at this location for six years and are going stronger than ever.

The Johnsons are now blessed with three beautiful kids, Ryan, Reilly and Ryder. Even though they received such a huge blessing, they still continue to fulfill their purpose of helping kids.

Even though they have woken up wondering how they were going to pay a bill, the thought of the kids that she has basically watched grow up is what keeps her motivated in this business.

 “He always makes a way,” she said.

One would question how Rochelle Johnson gets so much done, like, being a wife, mother of three, a business owner, a loving person… “I am a woman, so I get the job done and He makes I happen,”  she said.

They hope to open a community center, simply because “our children are our window for a brighter future, it starts with them.”

Unique Wonders is where shaved ice flavors come to life and Bahamian cuisine is at a fingertip. 

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