It's easy to find Republican congressional candidate Richard Snelgrove's office - just look for the giant twin-dip cone on 21st South that marks the original ice cream store bearing the family name.
"The name stands for quality, integrity, honesty. I'm grateful for the heritage I have," Snelgrove, the candidate for Congress in the 2nd District, said. That heritage includes putting in long hours to make sure the business continues to thrive under a third generation.The 33-year-old candidate, a partner in the company, helped boost sales by adding new retail outlets, marketing ice cream to out-of-state supermarkets and developing new product lines.
"I was always interested in business. More than anything, I'm interested in seeing things grow," he said, citing his pride in the fact that Snelgrove's has done well despite the state's sagging economy.
Now a supervisor of 160 employees, Snelgrove said he remembers his beginnings in the business world at age 10, when he mowed lawns, emptied garbage and swept floors.
Seated in his modest office behind the ice-cream store, he describes how he prepared to help manage the family business by holding virtually every position in the company.
He readied himself for his first try at public office through working with the Republican Party for the past four years, most recently as the GOP's Salt Lake County chairman.
Snelgrove said he always planned to run for office - someday. He decided this was the right time, after receiving encouragement from party officials based on his showing against Rep. Wayne Owens in some preliminary polls.
His wife of 71/2-years, JoLynn, said even she was surprised by his decision. "He told me when we were first engaged that he wanted to run for office when he was older," she said. "I didn't think 33 was older, but that's OK."
Snelgrove stresses that he expects to win his race against the two-term incumbent but said that before he entered it, he considered what he had to gain by winning - and what he had to gain by losing.
"Ultimately, it came down to the question of if I'm better off by running even if I lose than if I don't run at all," he said. Citing the pleasure he gets from meeting new people and trying to sell them on his candidacy, he makes it clear he believes he'll be a winner either way.
That's an example of the confidence that makes Snelgrove successful, according to longtime friend, Brooke Call. "Richard takes it seriously, but if he loses, he won't go to pieces," Call said. "He judges himself by whether he's done the best he could."
Call, a certified public accountant in Park City, said he and Snelgrove once invested in a real estate deal together that soured. Call said Snelgrove took the loss in stride.
Despite his long hours divided between the business and the campaign, Snelgrove finds time for his family, she said. He has helped spark an interest in politics in her and especially in their oldest child, Bryan, 7.
"It's really contagious," she said. "My 7-year-old knows a Republican from a Democrat."
The two younger children, Lyndsay, 5, and Tyler, who is nearly 2, haven't yet shown signs of inheriting their father's interest in politics, she said.