For a little more than a month, Don and Kim Martin have been the owners of Kona Ice of Lowell. After seeing a Kona Ice truck on the west side of Grand Rapids, they were inspired to leave their careers in the insurance and financial industry and looked into opening their own franchise.
The Kona Ice Mission
Kona Ice began in 2007, originating in Kentucky and is currently available in 48 states. After the Martins had their first experience with Kona Ice as customers something changed. It piqued their interest enough to look into what it would take to start their own franchise. “We spent the next several months tossing this idea around and the more we researched the more passionate we became about this company and what Kona represents.” says Kim Martin of their journey to running their own Kona Ice truck. The brand promotes community, customer service, quality products, and providing an experience for customers, which was a draw for the couple.
The Martins looked at the positive approach of the company and embraced it, wanting to bring it to the Lowell community. They are fully behind the company’s motto of “Be Good…Do Good…For Good”. Nationwide, Kona Ice has given in excess of 68 million dollars to communities and organizations. Kona Ice of Lowell is available to help groups with fundraising. During Kona Days events they’ll set up where requested, serve visitors, and write a check to a group for 20% of their profit. The Martins and their Kona Ice truck will be at Cherry Creek’s meet the teacher evening on Monday, August 19 from 5pm – 6:30pm as a fundraiser for the group’s PTO. Groups interested in having a Kona Day are encouraged to contact the Martins to discuss an event.
The Kona Ice Experience
The Martins have lived in Lowell since 2010. Established members of the area, they wanted to do something to add community involvement. They have already been part of sporting events, festivals, and most recently spent a week at the Kent County Youth Fair. Those looking to book the truck should make arrangements as events into 2020 are already being scheduled. Eventually they hope to list public events on their Facebook page so that anyone who wants to stop by will have the opportunity to do so. Look for them to be at upcoming events and festivals this fall.
The Kona Ice website provides a background for the company and information about what exactly shaved ice is, especially compared to a sno cone, and its history. Throughout the site information is revealed in a fun and sometimes quirky manner. It’s easy to tell that the Kona brand is one which projects fun while providing a quality product. Schools looking to have the Martins participate at events can do so knowing that the flavor’s ingredients meet the USDA’s All Foods Sold in Schools Standards.
Kona Ice of Lowell offers 10 basic flavors at all times. There are over 500 choices, some of which they will add depending upon the location where they will be selling shaved ice. They will continue to experiment with a variety as they try to determine customer favorites. Customers are able to decide if they’d like one flavor or some combination while enjoying tropical music played from the truck.
The Martin Experience
A franchise is only as good as those who are behind it regardless of the brand being promoted. Don and Kim Martin bring their own life experiences, flair, and hopes for the community to their business.
The couple recently celebrated their 10th anniversary. They have four children and four grandchildren. The youngest generation think they are the coolest grandparents around. Who wouldn’t if you could say they own a shaved ice business? The Martins say they’re big RV people and have traveled all over the world with tropical destinations on the top of their list. It’s like running a business offering tropical flavors was meant to be.
“We love community involvement and wear our heart on our sleeve when it comes to kiddos. We want to be the positive that more people need in this world even if it is only for a few minutes.” comments Kim Martin. When pulling into an event, the two love seeing people smile and get excited about what they represent.