A major tradition of summer in Dallas has been broken: In a very last-minute decision, Aunt Stelle's Sno-Cones has decided not to open in the summer of 2017.
The beloved family-owned shaved-ice stand in Oak Cliff has been open every summer since 1962. But owner Lee Albert announced the stand's decision to skip this year, stating that the family had experienced difficulties over the past year and opted out for this summer.
The family posted news of the closure on their Facebook page at 4 am on Saturday morning, the day it was scheduled to open.
"As you know, today was supposed to be opening day for the shop," the post says. "However through many tears, discussions, prayers, and sleepless nights, we have decided to close for the 2017 season. Too many difficult events during our 'off season' led us to this decision. We ask that y'all respect our privacy in this matter."
Aunt Stelle's season historically runs from the last Saturday in April through Labor Day. In February, the family was still full steam ahead for an April 29 opening, and had created an event page for opening day.
Albert's mother was "Aunt Stelle." Since taking it over, she ran the stand with husband Ed Schwartz and friend Mark Harris; her father bought the building in Oak Cliff in 1962, and it has been Dallas' trademark shaved ice ever since.
The stand celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012, but in recent years had cut back on its hours, from a daily operation to weekends only, from Fridays-Sundays.
It was also one of the few stands located in the center of Dallas; most shaved-ice stands are found in supermarket parking lots buried deep in the suburbs.
But shaved ice fans got a reprieve in 2016, when a more gourmet-leaning stand called Ruby's Sno-balls opened in East Dallas; it's open Mondays-Saturdays from 1-7 pm.