Meet the Trader: The slushie supremo of Croydon 

Rico Sanchez, owner of Rico’s Slushies, with one of the 31 slushies they offer. Pics: Karoline Brandslet
Rico Sanchez, owner of Rico’s Slushies, with one of the 31 slushies they offer. Pics: Karoline Brandslet

In 2017, Ricardo “Rico” Sanchez bought a slushie machine for his own leisure. He started renting it out and quickly realised there was a high demand for the frozen beverage. 

This demand turned into a business, and today, the 33-year-old software and web developer is slowly building a slushie empire out of his little Croydon shop.  

Rico’s Slushies was founded in 2018 and started out by renting out slushie machines for different events. This, in turn, led to the opening of a ‘Ghost Kitchen’ in 2022, where they also sold food. It was a way to test the waters before opening a physical shop. 

“I wasn’t sure there was a market for opening up a slushie store in London, because it’s not exactly sunny here every day,” Sanchez told Eastlondonlines. 

“But after I started to see results and after talking to some other prominent business owners, I decided to go for it. No risk, no reward!”

And it seems like the risk is turning into reward. Although their physical shop has only been around since June last year, Rico’s Slushies has been doing well. Ricardo thanks the Croydon community for that: “The community has been very supportive, and we got a lot of regulars. The fact that we are a black owned business also draws support.” 

Slushie machines with syrups on the shelf. Pic: Karoline Brandslet 

Canadian concept 

With no less than 31 different flavours and the option to add alcohol, there should be a slushie for everyone at Rico’s. But in addition to the slushies, they also offer a wide range of food and desserts. Ricardo’s Canadian roots and the lack of their cuisine in London inspired him to turn the shop into a Canadian concept. 

“I have a lot of family in Toronto, and I visit them frequently. I’ve always loved the food there, and when I realised the supply of Canadian food in London was pretty much non-existent, I wanted to do something about it.” the Croydon native tells ELL. 

Some of the traditional Canadian dishes on the menu include authentic Poutine, different types of floats, buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and funnel cake. 

But they don’t just sell Canadian food. Rico’s is a fusion restaurant that combines Canadian flavours with elements from Jamaican and British culinary traditions. Why not try a jerk chicken bagel or a cheesy-beef patty?

The tiny shop is popular with locals. Pic: Karoline Brandslet

Rico says he wants to give customers the feeling that they are going back to childhood. Several of the foods on the menu contain items that many British people will recognise from their upbringing. Slushies, Cheetos (served in burgers) and sprinkle cakes are some of them.

“A lot of the flavours here turn people nostalgic. I think every child in Britain grew up eating sprinkle cakes and gypsy tarts. Those are our best-selling cakes, which is a testament to how people tend to seek back to that time in their life.” 

The future 

Sanchez originally wanted to open up a ghost kitchen earlier than he did, but the pandemic put a halt to it. Still, he says it was fairly lucrative when they did launch it in 2022, as online orders skyrocketed when people weren’t able to leave their house. This led to the opening of the physical shop soon after. 

The shop and online orders are not the only thing bringing in revenue. Rico’s still hire out slushie machines for events, and this summer they can be found at festivals around London. 

Several well-established companies have used Rico’s services, such as PizzaExpress, IMAX and Warner Bros. The latter uses the company as their main slushie supplier. 

However successful they are becoming, the slushie shop is just a secondary income stream for Sanchez, who works full time in IT. This meant that in the early days of opening, he would have no days off. 

Now that Rico’s is well established, the businessman is thinking about expanding. But he’s not sure if he wants to turn it into a franchise: “Some people don’t like chains, because it feels less exclusive to them. On the other hand, it might be a good thing that new customers can see that we’re an established company with loyal customers.” 

Rico’s Slushies can be found at 135 Windmill Road, Croydon, CR0 2XT. 

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