Kona Ice is preparing to surf into new turf this season. The tropical shaved ice brand recently introduced a tidal wave of innovations during the Kona Konvention held in Northern Kentucky from January 28 to 31, including the launch of a new flavoring company and the rollout of a mobile phone app. The brand also announced that it has given away a total of $35 million to communities nationwide since its inception eight years ago.

In addition to the recent updates, Mayor Sherry Carran of Covington, Kentucky, made a special appearance to proclaim that January 29 has officially been named “Kona Ice Day,” which was met with a standing ovation at the event.

“This past year has been met with one breakthrough after another,” says Tony Lamb, president and founder of Florence, Kentucky–based Kona Ice. "And, now there is no slowing down. Since day one, we have been committed to innovation. Whether its adding solar panels to our trucks, minis, and kiosks, redesigning our website, or developing our own propriety flavors, we are moving mountains for our franchisees and our customers. I couldn’t be more energized about the direction the company is headed now and in the months and years to come.”

Building on the excitement following the 2016 Kona Konvention, franchisees are abuzz about the launch of Kona Kreations, the official flavoring company that Kona Ice Korporate has created. The subsidiary, which is based in Austin, Texas, will allow franchisees exclusive access to the brand’s proprietary flavors. It will also guarantee greater quality assurance, ensuring the flavor combinations meet federal guidelines in each of the communities the brand serves.

In addition to introducing an assortment of tasty new flavors, Kona Ice will be making its way into app stores towards the end of the winter. The brand will be rolling out its new Island Rush mobile app, which brings everyone’s favorite Kona characters to life in a series of virtual obstacle courses. The mobile gaming app allows users to earn points for conquering new levels, which can be redeemed for fun prizes such as a T-shirt or color changing cup. The brand is equally excited about the debut of its new website and the recent updates to its iconic truck, mini, and kiosk, which include solar panels, adjustable interior lighting, among other enhancements.

Of course, the most momentous announcement of the Kona Konvention was the presentation of the brand’s overall giveback figure. Since Kona Ice launched in 2007, the brand has donated more than $35 million to community groups and organizations around the country. The fundraising efforts have become a source of pride to the brand’s franchisees who are honored to play such as critical role in the neighborhoods they serve.

“It is unbelievable what our franchisees have accomplished,” Lamb adds. “When I look around the room at our annual convention, I see a former banker who raised more than $10,000 for a local elementary school. I see a teacher who has donated $3,000 to a family in need. I see so many inspiring individuals that keep our company thinking big and rising to the occasion day in and day out.”

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