Biz Beat

Pura Vida shaved ice celebrates in Modesto, expands into Oakdale

There is something magical about shaved ice. It’s not a snow cone, as I learned my first day on the job at the California Ice Factory at Modesto’s Roseburg Square.

Truly good shaved ice is flaky and smooth, with nary a crunch. And on a hot day, it can feel like eating pure cold deliciousness. That explains all the lines I would see outside of our little store on summer days the Central Valley temperatures flew well into the triple digits. I always wondered why folks didn’t just step across the shopping center to Swenson’s, which served up ice cream in blessed air conditioning.

It also explains the success of Pura Vida.

The shaved ice parlor on Standiford Avenue in north Modesto celebrated its fifth anniversary this week with a giveaway and raffle for free in-store parties. And late last summer, Pura Vida opened a second location, this one in Oakdale.

“People have been really welcoming,” said Jenna Woods, who owns Pura Vida with her husband, Ryan, and Steffan Haro.

A look at the company’s Facebook page reviews shows that its fans are legion and loyal. Said Danielle Lowe: “The absolute best in the business. The best shaved ice, the best coffee, the best kettle corn, the best service. The friendliest staff and best owners you can find! You can not beat them. Ever.” Can’t get too much better than that.

In addition to shaved ice, Pura Vida offers smoothies, kettle corn, espresso and coffee, and something called a “Javalanche,” explained on the website as “Espresso, milk, ice & an avalanche of flavor” that comes in versions including mocha and cookies and cream.

But shaved ice is in the name for a reason, and the menu offers nearly 50 flavors of homemade syrups, free of high-fructose corn syrup, gluten and fat. Possibilities range from passion fruit to wedding cake – no word if one of those leads to the other.

Back in the olden days when I was serving up shaved ice, what we ran out of most on the shelves was watermelon syrup, and root beer and vanilla together were pretty popular. Then again, we didn’t have offerings quite as varied as Pura Vida’s – I don’t recall serving up strawberry colada, cheesecake or li hing mui.

Find Pura Vida is at 1407 Standiford Ave., Modesto, and 1214 W. F St., Oakdale.

Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

Got some documents you need safely disposed? For the 10th year, Central Valley Community Bank, in conjunction with Pacific Shredding and Valley Crime Stoppers, is offering to shred papers for the general public as well as its customers.

“At Central Valley Community Bank, offering a safe and secure banking experience includes providing education and resources year-round for our customers and the community to help protect them against identity theft and fraud,” James M. Ford, bank president and CEO, said in a news release. “While there’s no perfect solution to these growing crimes, simple practices like shredding sensitive documents with a partner you can trust and understanding how to avoid cyber fraud can make an important difference in your business and personal life.”

The bank will shred up to four banker boxes full of documents per person or business until its truck is full. The Modesto event will be Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon at 2020 Standiford Ave., Suite H. Call 209-576-1402.