There was the woman’s divorce party that Craig Welborn and his son supplied frozen margaritas for – only to do the same a week later for her ex-husband.
And then there was the 80-year-old host of a bridge match who made a frozen margarita machine a regular part of her get-togethers.
“She said she was trying to outdo one of her bridge partners,” said Welborn, who owns Mas Tequila Wichita with his son Parker.
“You’d be kind of surprised what kind of things you run into.”
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Running the part-time business has provided the Welborns with more than stories and income. They’ve spent a decade of weekends together while Parker, who’s now in college, learned a good bit about the real world of business.
That may be what Craig Welborn’s own father, Louis – better known as Vic – had in mind when he first suggested something of the sort.
“My dad was in hospice,” Welborn recalls. “He looked at me … and he said, ‘Chuck, I want you to partner in a business with Parker.’ ”
Welborn started with one frozen drink machine, “and we just kept expanding.” The business serves both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Maybe part of the novelty was his young helper.
“People were just kind of freaking out,” he said. “Here’s a 10-year-old kid doing margaritas.”
Today, Parker is a 20-year-old majoring in marketing at Pittsburg State University. He will officially take over the business when he turns 21.
The father-son team offers two types of service: setting up frozen drink machines for clients to use – with directions for operating them – or in some cases manning them for customers.
They’ve supplied frozen drinks for crowds of up to 3,000 people and have the capacity to pour drinks from 14 “heads” – as the dispensing devices are called – at once.
The Welborns have produced 20 to 30 varieties of drinks over the years, even coming up with a few concoctions of their own. One of the most popular currently is a frozen Moscow Mule.
Probably the most difficult customer requests to fulfill was to produce a purple margarita for a party of Kansas State Wildcat fans, Welborn said.
“If you’ve ever tried to take green and make it purple, that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life,” he said.
The business rents drink machines for a base price of $120 per machine, then sells as much mix as requested. One batch produces about 40 9-ounce drinks, depending on how much alcohol is added.
“We make sure the customer knows how to run the machine,” Welborn said. “Our philosophy is we’ve got $4,600 sitting in that machine. I don’t want somebody to ruin that.”
In addition to individual clients, Mas Tequila Wichita works with several large caterers. Welborn says most of the business is through referrals and word-of-mouth. He didn’t bother replacing the business’ website after it was hacked a couple of years ago.
“Most people know me as the ‘Margarita Man,’ ” said Welborn, whose regular job is in supply chain management for Spirit AeroSystems. “They don’t know me as Chuck.”
Parker Welborn remembers standing on boxes to be able to reach the top of the drink machines when he was young. He doesn’t mind having given up many weekends growing up.
“I know more about business than some of my classmates,” he said. “It’ll help me out in the long run.”
Mas Tequila Wichita
Owners: Craig and Parker Welborn