Build a brrrr: Hilton Head snow cone shop doubles as Lego sculpture gallery

Hilton Head LEGO brick maker creates original, one-of-a-kind moving sculptures

Hilton Head snow cone business owner makes two and three-dimensional Lego sculptures.
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Hilton Head snow cone business owner makes two and three-dimensional Lego sculptures.

Sno Cones by Chris has been open near Hilton Head’s Palmetto Bay Marina only about six years, but that’s been enough time for the shop to become something of a destination — and not just for the ice cold treats you would expect.

The shop, owned by Chris Sudduth, also is home to a collection of unique Lego sculptures, two dozen of which are animatronic.

There’s a pair of Converse high-tops made from red and white Legos, one foot tapping impatiently.

A Lego man appears to push his Lego lawnmower endlessly through Lego grass.

A sign rotates from saying “yes” to saying “no.”

Portraits crafted out of the small multi-colored bricks hang on the walls, and visitors young and not-so-young can’t help but be attracted to several large sculptures on display.

One of those, a replica of the Titanic, is 5 feet long and weighs around 30 pounds. Sudduth created it through trial and error, building and taking apart and building again until it was just the way he wanted it.

“It took me years to put that thing together until I was happy and stopped changing things on it,” he said.

Sudduth has taken on more than a dozen commissioned pieces and portraits, and his work is also on display near the entrance to The Sandbox children’s museum on the island.

“The kids love it,” said Caroline Rinehart, operations manager at The Sandbox.

While Sudduth said he doesn’t plan on taking any of his creations apart — new customers haven’t seen his older work yet — there’s only one piece glued together. That was the solution for a fragile bouquet of flowers that fell apart every time it was moved.

If something breaks, it can always be fixed, Sudduth said.

“That’s the thing about Legos. They are meant to be taken apart,” he said.

Sudduth said he’s seen a 12 percent increase in business this year; the business has been on an upward trend the past three years.

And it’s not just the Lego art drawing customers in.

Jimmy Foster from Moyock, North Carolina, brought his children to Sno Cones by Chris on Tuesday afternoon. He said the family makes a regular stop there every time they visit Hilton Head.

Foster asked his daughter Julia Diamond, 9, what she loved most about stopping at the shop: the snow cones or the Lego creations. Before he could finish his question, she was ready with an answer: “Cause of the snow cones,” she declared.

For Sudduth, the shop is more than just a job.

“If you love what you do and you can make money with it, you don’t really work. ... You have to put effort into it, but it’s a fun job, too.

“There are very few complaints. It’s shaved ice and it’s Legos. .... If you complain, then you are really miserable.”

Sno Cones by Chris

Where: 114 Helmsman Way, Hilton Head Island

When: Hours are 1 to 8 p.m. daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and then less regularly beyond that while the weather is warm.

Videographer Drew Martin contributed to this report.

Lisa Wilson is a reporter for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette. The 25-year newsroom veteran has worked for papers in Louisiana and Mississippi and is happy to call the Lowcountry home.