Weatherford College Phi Theta Kappa Vice President Weston Decker is no stranger to hard work. At the youthful age of 20, Decker’s resume includes fiber optic technician, HVAC installer, ranch hand and snow cone stand owner.
Decker, a Peaster High School graduate, and his business partner, Josh Ervin, a senior at Tarleton State University, were both looking for a way to earn extra money to help pay for college when the idea to open the stand emerged.
“It was just kind of a spontaneous idea,” Decker said.
And just like that, the young men gathered their funds and purchased the stand, J ‘n W’s Shaved Ice, in the summer of 2014. Completing the necessary paperwork to permit the business was easy, but finding a location to anchor the snow cone stand proved more difficult.
“We probably got rejected 150 times, but we were so determined,” Decker said. “We heard another no and another no, but we knew eventually someone would say yes.”
That someone was the City of Weatherford Parks and Recreation Department who allowed the partners to set up outside the city pool on East Lee Avenue. The business relationship with the city proved to be the best thing that could have happened to the young entrepreneurs.
Decker and Ervin have since been invited to bring the stand to special events like the Bloomin’ Car Show on Saturday, Sept. 26, and they’ve become regulars at First Monday Trade Days.
“It’s been amazing,” Decker said. “They keep us busy.”
Madison Campbell, Event Coordinator for Heritage Park, said the partnership between J ‘n W’s Shaved Ice has worked well with both of the young men operating the business with a high level of professionalism.
“This company’s relationship with the department has grown into more than just summer assistance,” Campbell said. “Their enthusiasm and willingness to work along with their passion for service has provided a great foundation for the relationship of their company with City of Weatherford.”
Now at the end of their second season, the duo has grossed enough money to pay off the snow cone stand, and they’re looking to expand their business.
Due to city ordinances, snow cone stands cannot operate year round. So, to fill in the down time, Decker and Ervin are preparing to open a hotdog stand for First Monday weekends and other special events.
But for the most part, you won’t find Decker making snow cones. Instead he’s working his fulltime job as a ranch manager on a cutting horse ranch in Poolville while a crew of younger employees serves up tiger’s blood flavored snow cones. Being his own boss has been Decker’s dream from a young age.
“I never liked taking orders from other people, being the underdog,” he said. “I always wanted to be the person overseeing everything. That’s what’s driven me. I want to own my own business, and this is a good way to get started and help pay for school.”
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After completing his basic courses at WC in May, Decker plans to transfer to Texas Woman’s University in Denton to complete a degree in kinesiology and then, hopefully, move on to their occupational therapy program.
Decker was half way to completing his HVAC certification and working in construction when he decided he wasn’t on the right path for his life.
“I spent months on end just looking into jobs that interested me, and one day I remembered my friend’s niece who was born with cerebral palsy and watching her struggle to walk correctly and, as just a toddler, go through all sorts of therapy,” Decker said. “To see her improve and to be able to stand and then walk was astounding in my opinion. That was amazing to see, and I knew that was my calling in life because when you find what you love to do, you just know it is where you belong.”
He then enrolled in WC as the first step toward this calling.
“My WC education is a building block for my career, and it’s most definitely setting me up perfectly for future education,” Decker said. “The quality of education I have received has been exceptional. The teachers are outstanding with providing out of class help. Also, the support I now see from being in Phi Theta Kappa from faculty and teachers is fantastic. Everyone wants to see us students move on and succeed. That’s what makes WC special to me.”
His future goals, of course, include owning his own therapy clinic, and WC instructors like Trey Jansen, chapter advisor for Phi Theta Kappa, believe Decker will have no trouble fulfilling his dreams.
“Weston is a driven young man with a bright future far beyond the WC hilltop,” Jansen said. “He is the kind of person who pushes himself to succeed in all facets of life. Weston knows that a good education is an integral step towards his future plans, so he is making sure to take advantage of all that Weatherford College has to offer both in the classroom and out. What’s most impressive is that he seems to inspire the same traits in others.”
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