On a hot summer day, getting a shaved ice drink at Kona Ice can be refreshing, but since the pandemic started and canceled many events that it shows up to, business has been down by 90%.
“We primarily do schools. Fundraising for schools, and fundraising for athletics. So, you know, all the baseball, softball games. All the schools all got canceled, so that shut us down in that aspect,” said owner Paul Fuller.
Because of that, Fuller had time to change the model for his business and go to his customers.
“We started out doing an online ordering program called Curbside Kona, where you can order Konas, and we would bring them right to your house, and from there, it kind of transpired into doing neighborhoods and driving through neighborhoods, kind of like the ice cream truck.”
But driving through neighborhoods was a little bit of an adjustment for Fuller.
“The very first time I did it, I look in my mirror, and there are two kids that are just, I mean, running to beat the band to catch up with me, and I’m just cruising along like I normally would and realized, ‘Hey, they’re trying to get me,’ so I pulled over, and I gave them free Konas because they were just exhausted. They had chased me for two blocks.”
In the meantime, Fuller has partnered with Scott Hildebrand at Henry’s Christmas Yard at three food drives since the summer. Many people enjoyed the treat, and Fuller says that Kona Ice is different from a snow cone.
“The ice is shaved. It’s not like a snow cone. The ice is shaved instead of ground up. The shaved ice allows the flavor to penetrate into the ice better.”
At any event Fuller attends, he donates 20% of the proceeds to the organization it’s benefiting.