I started seeing Kona Ice trucks serving up their colorful shaved ice at Todd Beamer park around six years ago. Now, in my role as a PTA President at my son’s school, I interact with the company regularly, as they come to school a few afternoons each year to sell shaved ice and donate a portion of their profits right back to our school’s PTA fund. My interaction with Kona Ice has always been positive, and I had to imagine as just one Valley school representative, that there were many others also benefiting from Kona’s model of charitable giving, so I reached out to our local Kona Ice owners to learn the backstory. If you’ve seen the colorful trucks around town, or maybe enjoyed a tasty Kona Ice yourself, I think you’ll enjoy learning more about the company, too!
FresYes: How did Kona Ice get started? Is it a local company?
Local owner, Lisa Quiroz: Kona Ice was started in Northern Kentucky in 2007. Our founder, Tony Lamb, thought, “Hey, people don’t sell shaved ice off trucks. Also, Ice cream trucks are kind of creepy. What if we sold shaved ice of a truck that was super fun and inviting?” And thus, Kona Ice was born. Tony Lamb’s whole family is involved, and he encourages people that purchase a franchise to involve the whole family in their local business. It has been a wonderful way to teach our kids about business and even our parents have helped on the trucks in our early years.
FresYes: How did you get involved in this business? What do you love about it?
LQ: We were looking for a change in 2010, and I stumbled across some information about Kona Ice and what they do, so I went to their convention and fell in love with the whole idea of what it can do in the community, and the passion the owners had for making Kona Ice a unique, fun experience for kids and adults alike!
FresYes: Kona seems to be everywhere! How do you do it? How many local Kona trucks are there?
LQ: We have slowly grown through the years, starting with one truck in 2011. As we grew, so did our territories (which are based on zip codes). We currently have 4 trucks, and we have several Kona Ice neighbors that have their own trucks, too. We are all local families, and this business is definitely a family affair!
Nationwide there are over 1,200 trucks and counting. We provide employment to many college students, and they are the ones that allow us to be so many places at one time!
FresYes: Has Kona Ice always given back to schools? How much is donated to support schools each year?
LQ: Yes, we have given back to schools, sports organizations and other non-profits since day one. Nationwide, through our trucks, we have given back over $62 million! Kona Ice of Fresno has given back over $325,000 since we started in 2011!
FresYes: Ok, I have to know, what’s the most popular flavor of Kona Ice?
LQ: Definitely Tigers Blood, with Blue Raspberry and Cotton Candy vying for second place ranking!
FresYes: Anything else you’d like us to know/surprising or fun facts about you or Kona Ice?
LQ: Something you might not expect – there is a Kona Ice Truck in Alaska! Besides that, however, a little-known fact is that we do parties and corporate events where you can try our Krafted flavors – flavors designed for the adult palate. Blackberry Mojito, Mai Tai, Watermelon Mint and more – lots of great flavors to try! If you invite us to your work, we turn our tropical steel drum music on, and your employees will feel like you gave them a mini vacation.
To book your fundraiser or event with Kona Ice of Fresno – contact Lisa Quiroz at 559-779-2969 or firstname.lastname@example.org