Mike Buchanan, 17, owns and operates Big Mike's Shaved Ice in the Highlands. | Photos by Sara Havens

Mike Buchanan, 17, owns and operates Big Mike’s Shaved Ice in the Highlands. | Photos by Sara Havens

Mike Buchanan worked nearly 70 hours last week manning his shaved ice shack that sits smack-dab in the middle of the Highlands, in the Dairy Mart parking lot at 1351 Bardstown Road.

Seventy hours for anyone working a full-time job is exhausting. But for Buchanan, who is 17 years old and will be a senior at DeSales High School, it’s his passion and how he’ll be spending the next three months while his peers head to the beach, hang out at the pool, and traipse up and down the very same road where Buchanan’s business holds court.

Buchanan has been running Big Mike’s Shaved Ice for two years, working full-time through the summer months and part-time into the early fall. This is his business’ first foray into the Highlands — in the past he’s operated off Klondike Lane in Hikes Point. So far, he says he loves the environment and friendly neighbors who often stop for a chat.

“When I moved my shop into the area, everyone was very welcoming and excited to have me in their neighborhood,” he says. “I love the people. I like to get to know my customers, and people are very open and we have great conversations!”

Buchanan rents the space for his small shack from the owners of the Dairy Mart. He says on a good day, he will go through eight blocks of ice — about 50-100 cups of Hawaiian shaved ice. He is quick to point out that his product is not just created from ice cubes and a blender — he uses a professional ice chipper he purchased along with the shack a few years back.

Big Mike's is located at 1351 Bardstown Road.

Big Mike’s is located at 1351 Bardstown Road.

“My product is authentic shaved ice, and you just can’t find that in Louisville,” boasts Buchanan. “People are blown away by it.”

Buchanan says he plans to join the Navy after high school but wants to eventually land at the University of Kentucky for a degree in business with a minor in engineering.

Big Mike’s Shaved Ice offers more than a dozen flavors, ranging from strawberry, cherry, blue raspberry, and watermelon to more exotic flavors like Tiger’s Blood, Bahama Mama, and pink lemonade. You can choose three flavors per cup, and a small will set you back $2, a medium $3, and a large $6.

A cup of strawberry and blueberry shaved ice was delicious.

A cup of strawberry and blueberry shaved ice was delicious.

Hours of operation:

  • Monday-Thursday: noon-10 p.m.
  • Friday-Saturday: noon-midnight
  • Sunday: noon-9 p.m.

For more information, check out Big Mike’s Facebook page.