Gulfport business celebrates 60 years

Many gathered at Snowballs to celebrate the Gulfport business' 60th year.
Many gathered at Snowballs to celebrate the Gulfport business' 60th year.

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Gulfport business is celebrating 60 years. Snowball Service was the largest shell station in Gulfport when it opened back in 1952, when gas was only 20 cents a gallon.

Mayor George Schloegel remembers when he was just 12-years-old when Snowball Service first opened.

Schloegel said, "He let all of us as kids come in here with our bicycles and use his tools and fix our equipment up. Then when we were old enough to have our car, he let us bring our car and didn't charge us a nickel, he would let us do all the work right out of his shop."

But to the modest Edward McKenna, whose better known as "Snowball," said that is just the way it should be.

"If someone needed something done or something need to be taking care, I always tried to help, that's the way I look at it," Mckenna said.

Many gathered at Snowballs to celebrate the big milestone, one that is not slowing the 83-year-old owner down at all.

McKenna said, "I get up at 5:30 in the morning and worked to 9:30 or 10 at night."

Over the years he has acquired the help of his sons and grandsons.

McKenna said, "It's a great feeling to know they are interested in that. Edward is my youngest son and he approached me about two years ago he said, 'Daddy I can't go by here and see that place close I want to run it when your time comes.' I had no idea that was going to take place, but that was a great feeling."

And according to his 15-year-old grandson, it will not stop there.

Blake McKenna said, "I want to take over one day and try and keep the legacy going. Hopefully one day, I hope to pass it down to my son."

His grandfather also has something he wants to pass down, the key to success.

"If it wouldn't have been for the customers I wouldn't be here, the customers are the main thing," McKenna said.

While he credits everyone for his success, the mayor said success also has a lot to do with McKenna.

"He's been one of Gulfport's greatest citizens. He's just been like an older brother to me, and for 60 years I've loved him like one of my own family and he has treated me like one of his own children," Schloegel said.

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