The success of Kona Ice continues to snowball. In the past 12 months, the brand added 142 trucks to its growing fleet of mobile gourmet shaved ice vehicles, raising the overall unit count to 600-plus trucks on the road in 45 states. The expansion and continued success of the franchise raised the brand’s giveback figure to an impressive $25 million.
“Since day one, Kona Ice has been committed to a higher purpose,” says Tony Lamb, founder and president of Florence, Kentucky–based Kona Ice. “Our success is about more than our bottom line. We got into this business because we wanted to make a difference. The growth and profitability of Kona Ice is what is allowing us to do great things. Our expansion is helping further our mission to ‘Flavor our World.’”
The momentum Kona Ice has achieved in the past year has helped drive the success of its new “Flavor Our World” campaign. The purpose of the campaign, which launched in February, is to help Kona Ice create a stronger connection with the communities it serves. Through a social media contest, fundraisers, and other promotions, the brand has added new flavor to neighborhoods across the country.
One of the many ways Kona Ice showcased “Flavor Our World” this past year was the celebration of National Chill Out Day, a Tax Day promotion designed to ease the stress of tax filing. Operating under the tagline “No Taxation without Relaxation,” the brand’s franchise partners handed out FREE Kona Ice at post offices, courthouses, and other community focal points throughout the country on the day following the federal holiday.
In the months that followed, Kona Ice launched its #CelebrateLife Instagram photo-sharing contest. The contest encouraged followers to post a picture of themselves “Celebrating Life” with Kona Ice using the hashtag #CelebrateLife and #KonaIce. Finalists were awarded a free Kona Ice t-shirt and grand prize finalists earned $1,000 in cash. Each cash prize winner was honored with a “Celebrate Life” community block party that included food, music, games, and entertainment courtesy of Kona Ice.
In addition to the National Chill Out Day promotion and the #Celebrate Life Instagram contest, Kona Ice created and shared inspiring video testimonials capturing the impactful work of Kona Ice’s franchise family. The brand also held a blood drive in Northern Kentucky to show support and raise awareness for Evan Perricelli, a little boy featured in many of Kona Ice’s marketing materials that was diagnosed with a rare blood condition requiring a bone marrow transplant.
“I am at a loss for words,” adds Lamb, who personally lead a Kona Ice campaign to keep alive a school Lego robotics program. “The success of our “Flavor Our World” campaign has surpassed even our expectations. Whether it be giving a young person a $1,000 check towards their college education or hosting a bone marrow drive to help save a little boy’s life, everything we have accomplished in the past 12 months has made a difference. I couldn’t be more proud of our corporate team, franchise partners and brand.”
The success of the brand’s “Flavor Our World” campaign is anticipated to continue driving company growth well into the new year. Company projections are calling for nearly 100 new franchise units in 2015, increasing the overall unit count to nearly 700 trucks. Additionally, Kona Ice’s three-year business forecast anticipates 1,000 franchised trucks nationwide.