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MEET: KONA ICE OF VEGAS VALLEY:

California transplants driven to spread happiness and give back to community

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Christopher DeVargas

Diona Fonte and Nick Friel own a Kona Ice truck and offer 10 choices to flavor shaved ice. They moved to Southern Nevada from California last year to launch their business.

Mon, Mar 20, 2017 (2 a.m.)

When Diona Fonte and Nick Friel were deciding on a business franchise to open, they came across Kona Ice’s recent ranking in Entrepreneur magazine: No. 1. Apart from the appealing business model, which allows the couple to engage and experience the community, they also fell in love with the company’s devotion to philanthropy.

The two have carried on that tradition, and in the short time they’ve operated in Southern Nevada, have given back more than $4,000.

Their KEV, or Kona Entertainment Vehicle, is a party on wheels. It blasts tropical music and dispenses 10 flavors of shaved ice.

It serves up to 500 people in an hour and can be booked for school fundraisers, sports events or even corporate events.

Describe your business.

We are a fundraising mobile shaved ice truck. We play tropical calypso music at each event or group gathering and dish up overflowing cups of freshly shaved ice with 10 flavors on our self-serve Flavorwave.

What is your business philosophy?

We’re all about making people happy and giving back to our community. Our goal is to keep adding to the $40 million the company as a whole has already given back since 2007.

We are continuing the Kona Ice tradition of donating thousands of dollars each year to local school groups, teams and community organizations. As we book events with these groups, we pledge to give back a percentage of the proceeds from each stop.

What obstacles has your business overcome?

We just moved from California and started our franchise in Summerlin. When we started, we were pretty busy from the get-go, with only one truck. It made it hard when three schools wanted us to be at their events on the same day, but we could only accommodate one.

We are excited to announce that we will have a second truck in operation by early May.

Do you do this full time or do you have other careers?

We are fully dedicated to this business and are both doing this full time.

What are your favorite flavors or combination of flavors?

Probably the Tiger’s Blood (watermelon, strawberry and coconut) and Monkey Business (banana).

Tell us your funniest or favorite story from working in the Kona Ice truck.

Many times, kids have come across running, smiling, yelling “Kona Ice is here!”

In fact, one little girl was running toward the truck, and ran up to me and gave me a big hug, and then went to hug the truck too.

What separates Kona Ice from other snow cone or shaved ice places?

Two main factors come to mind. The nutrition factor is one: We are Smart Snack-approved by the Food and Drug Administration, as our flavors are made with a Vitablend, which is sweetened with Stevia, and have vitamins C and D. Vitablend has 60 percent of your daily needed value of vitamin D, and 25 percent of your vitamin C. Second, we offer a great giveback program. The bonus and benefit with us being mobile is that we bring the fun and fundraising to you.

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