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The Kona Ice Story
We often get asked about our story – “How did Kona Ice come about?”; “Where did this idea come from?” There’s a lot to be said about the reason a company is started. It defines the purpose of the brand. It gives us our identity. This whole crazy company started with an experience – a bad experience. Born out of that bad experience was a desire to make a good experience.
An ice cream truck drove up to Tony’s house – you know the kind. It was creepy, dirty, and off-putting. So much so that his youngest daughter was hesitant to even approach it. This got his wheels turning: What if the truck was clean? What if the driver was warm, friendly, and presentable? What if the product was actually really good? What if they actually cared about the community they served?
After all, the ice cream truck driving around is a time-honored tradition. At one time, it wasn’t creepy and scary. It used to be all those things he had wondered. He thought there was a way we could get back to that place, but this time with shaved ice. And that was the beginning of Kona Ice.
Those questions that initially ran through Tony’s mind are the cornerstones of our brand: cleanliness, friendliness, a delicious product, and giving back to our community. The story of how Kona Ice started has informed who we are as a brand. Those core principles are all things that make up who we are as Kona Ice.
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Kona Ice Franchise Success Stories
A former marketing consultant and door-to-door vacuum salesman, Tony Lamb had an interesting ice cream truck experience.
When his daughter ran outside to meet a neighborhood ice cream truck, Lamb noticed the questionable condition of the vehicle and handling of the products.
“The truck had smoke coming out of it, and the driver wasn’t even wearing a shirt,” Lamb told Business Insider. “I thought, ‘what if there were a business that guaranteed a good experience at the ice cream truck?’”
This experience inspired Lamb to create Kona Ice, giving the ice cream truck concept a much-needed update. Lamb’s trucks feature a tropical style of music and a Hawaiian themed décor and design. They also provide customers with the opportunity to make their own shaved ice.
The Kona Ice success didn’t explode immediately. In fact, Lamb created five different prototype trucks, followed by many updates and tweaks. It was until after the fifth truck that Lamb felt comfortable with the product in 2007. These updates were worth the wait, as Kona Ice sold 13 franchises within only their first year of operation. During the second year, there was 30-40 percent attrition in neighborhood sales, which allowed Lamb to enhance the Kona Ice business model, according to Fox Business.
Since the start of the franchise, Kona Ice has significantly lowered the sugar content in their frozen treats, prioritizing fruit first. Currently, Kona Ice has sold more than 900 units since its beginning.
Kona Ice Franchise News
CNBC MAKE ITCNBC featured Kona Ice in their "Make It" segment with a story entitled "How Kona Ice Cracked The ‘Creepy Ice Cream Truck' Problem." The story interviews Tony Lamb as he tells the story of how Kona Ice came to be.
FOX & FRIENDSKona Ice was featured in a segment titled "Kona Ice Truck: A Variety of Fun Flavors." Tony Lamb shows viewers Kona Ice's Top 5 Flavorwave flavors, goes through the history of shaved ice, and takes Fox & Friends through the Kona Ice customer experience.
QSR MagazineIn an article titled "Kona Ice Serves Healthy Sweetness with FruitFirst," QSR writes about Kona Ice's launch of their line of FruitFirst flavors in 2016. " The product is USDA Smart Snack Approved and exceeded the "All Foods Sold in Schools" guidelines implemented that year. The article stated "for two years, since the inception of USDA's Smart Snack Initiative, Kona Ice has been leading flavor innovation efforts."
The Kona brand also engages in fundraising opportunities in local communities across the country. Whether it's for a school or sports team, a client can book a Kona truck for any fundraising needs or activities. Kona supports fundraising programs by providing a percentage of sales give back. So far, Kona Ice has given more than $40 million in giving back to local communities. This participation encourages others to consider Kona Ice for their future events.