The story of how Kona Ice was born is not a pleasant one. This bizarre business was sparked by a negative experience. A drive to create a positive experience resulted from that unpleasant event.
A neighborhood Ice Cream truck once approached Tony’s house. It was unsettling, filthy, and spooky. His youngest daughter was reluctant to even approach it since it was so intimidating. His mind immediately began to wander: What if the truck was spotless? What if the driver was kind, polite, and well-groomed? What if the item was genuinely top-notch? What if they genuinely cared about the neighborhood they provided for?
After all, passing ice cream trucks is a long-standing custom. It wasn’t eerie and terrifying earlier. He thought about all that and believed that there was a method to return there using shaved ice this time. And that was the start of Kona Ice.
2007 to 2008 – The first Kona Ice truck arrived on the scene in June 2007 with the first iteration of the Flavorwave. As 2008 came to a close, Tony made the decision to start franchising. In 2008 they launched www.kona-ice.com and granted fifteen franchises.
2009 to 2010 – The first version of their Success Guide was written in 2009 with ten pages. In that year, tehy granted 56 franchisees and unveiled the second-generation Kona truck. 51 new franchisees and the inaugural Kona Konvention both debuted in 2010. The first Kona Trailer followed that. And they passed the $1 million mark in our first giveback milestone!
2011 to 2012 – In 2011, things really started to pick up. They added 80 franchises, and to date, have donated $3 million. They launched the new Kona Mini and founded Kona Kollege. In that year, 36 minis were sold and they added 96 franchises at the third annual Kona Konvention.
2013 – They first expanded internationally and established our first franchise in Canada. It was especially amazing when Entrepreneur Magazine ranked us as “The 1 New Franchise”! With Vita-Blend and Performance Blend, they debuted a new, healthier product line. They added 128 more vehicles, 78 Kona Minis and gave back $13 million.
2014 – They reached KEV #500! Their Vita-Blend was subsequently authorized as a Smart Snack, enabling them to go on working with schools to reach the significant $20 million giveback milestone! Franchise Business Review had ranked them as the #1 Food Franchise.
2015 – They won first place in the Company Culture Awards given by Entrepreneur Magazine in 2015 and were ranked #1 in Frozen Desserts. They debuted brand-new Kona Kiosk throughout this year and sold 28.
2016 – They reached 800 Kona vehicles sold. They released Island Rush, thier first game app, in this year. They launched Kreations Flavoring, their own flavor business. They started bringing all of their flavoring in-house and trademarking the names of our flavors. They revealed the KEV 2.0, a new piece of apparatus. It is a scaled-down version of the KEV that has essentially identical functionality.
2017 – The year of Krafted Kona Ice was this one. At Konvention 2017, a dozen new flavors that were a touch more geared toward adults were unveiled. 152 new KEVs were delivered to both new and existing franchisees from Florence, Kentucky.
2018 – They introduced a line of extremely spicy and sour tastes this year, going to the flavor extremes. There were 11 Kona Kolleges and 133 additional franchises that joined the Kona family.
2019 – The company’s extremely rapid growth trajectory was unabated. Their position on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 was number 67.
2020 – Although the year 2020 brought many difficulties, Kona Ice persevered, stayed strong, and helped our franchisees get through a very trying time by negotiating with lenders, researching, and giving the most recent information regarding SBA programs, grants, and loans.
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