“TraePay’s Rolling Cafe was created from our family’s love of cooking. The whole neighborhood would stop by to talk and eat at my grandmother’s house, so she cooked all of the time. Her love for cooking and laughter resonated in me. I worked for many years but always had the desire to be my own boss in the food industry. My mom, Karen Alexander, owned Clear Away Cleaning Service, and she was never afraid of taking a risk. She called it a faith move. She taught me to be an entrepreneur and how to respectfully carry myself because you never know who is watching.
I was a single mother of two sons: Trae is six and Pay is five. Most of my money went towards daycare with no growth or financial stability in sight. This didn’t sit well with my spirit because I wanted my sons to see an example of success and prosperity from working your dream. I went to college and studied business management with a minor in marketing. I wanted to travel abroad and experience fine dining restaurants. Even though I didn’t finish college and was never able to travel abroad, I use the knowledge I gained in marketing and many hours of binging cooking channels to develop our business.
Steve Harvey once said to start where you are, and that’s what I did. With the help of my uncle Shelly and aunt Ann, we took a very old track and field truck from the University of South Alabama and transformed it into TPRC. My grandmother was the first investor by purchasing our snowball machine. Back in the day, we went to Al’s Hotdog for a snowball.
Mom and I originally started out with soul food — this wore us out physically and mentally. We started selling hotdogs and nachos on our down days. I love junk food and made different types of nachos including Ragin Cajun crawfish, cheeseburger, and loaded nachos.
COVID hit and we made different types of snowballs to bring in more customers. We created the strawberry crunch sensation, which is now our biggest hit. It consists of a strawberry and wedding cake flavored snowball topped with fresh strawberries, strawberry shortcake ice cream pieces, and drizzled with sweet cream.
We can do anything with a snowball, but our space is limited on the truck. I keep a notebook full of ideas that I can’t wait to try when we have more space. The line gets long but we thank God for patient customers as everything we serve is fresh and hot.
I was called Kool-Aid in school because I always had a big smile. I have had hard times, but God always wakes me up with a smile to share with our customers. My mom also loves to talk and smile which creates a family feeling with our customers. We got that from my grandma. If we see that a customer may seem a little down or having a bad day, we try to say something to make them laugh or smile, even if it’s just a little compliment or ‘I love you.’
We opened four years ago and the growth has been breathtaking. We knew we were growing when we no longer recognized returning customers because of all of the new ones. We are so grateful for everyone who has become a loyal customer. We are going to have our own storefront very soon in Bel Air Mall.
My boys have grown to love the truck and are ready to work and make their own money, or so they think. Pay loves eating the snacks. Trae loves the snowballs and working on the register.
My mom and I bump heads from time to time, but that comes from working together every day. We are each other’s blindside. People who don’t know us often think we are sisters. We laugh just alike and are fun people. I am thankful I get to do this with her.”
TraePay’s Rolling Cafe is usually parked on the side of Snappa’s Barbershop at 361 Cody Road in North Mobile. Check the Trae Pay’s Rolling Cafe for days and times. Here are a few of the snowball flavors:
A Dragon’s Kiss: sweet red hot sno-ball topped with crushed cinnamon Jolly Ranchers, Hot Tamales or Red Hot candies, and sprinkled with Gold Edible Sparkle. This Cajun red hot flavor is a hot but sweet cinnamon flavor that taste like red hot candies
S’mores Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bowl: s’mores flavored sno-ball topped with chocolate chip cheesecake bites, drizzled with chocolate syrup, caramel syrup and sweet cream.
What’s The Dill: Tiger’s Blood & Bahama Mama syrup topped with sliced dill pickles. Add Country Time Lemonade powder on top for a nice sweet lemony Kick