PALMDALE — The Etter family celebrated the first anniversary of their Kona Ice of Lancaster truck franchise on Sept. 21.
“We were looking to start a family business. We had a couple of different ideas and were just trying to figure it out,” Kim Etter said.
The Antelope Valley locals discovered Kona Ice in Entrepreneur magazine. Kona Ice provides flavored shaved ice and related products to the public in mobile setting. Kona Ice is a fluffier, finer ice that holds the flavor better than an ordinary snow cone.
“We offer ice cream at the bottom on request,” Kim’s son Erik Etter said.
The Florence, Kentucky-based company places a big emphasis on giving back to the community.
“They try to keep fees down so we’re able to give back more to our community,” Kim Etter said.
The Etters partner with local schools and youth sports to host “Kona Days” to raise money for underfunded programs and initiatives. They donate at least 20% of what they make to the groups they work with. The Etters have given back more than $10,000 since they started the business last year.
The Kona Ice of Lancaster truck has music, boogie lights, and a scent diffuser with a tropical scent. The Etters added a second Kona Ice truck, the Kona Ice krafted, truck, which offers gourmet shaved ice in flavors such as Irish coffee, mai rai, Blackberry Mojito Cosmopolitan, and White Wine Spritzer. Each Kona Ice truck has a Flavorwave, where kids, or adults, can choose as much of and as many of the 10 flavors such Ninja Cherry or Monster Mango as they want after they get shaved ice from the window.
“The kids love being able to chose how much they want, what flavor they want,” Kim said.
The most popular flavors are Tiger’s Blood, a mix of coconut and strawberry with hints of other flavors, and blue raspberry. Kona flavors have 40% less sugar, and are sweetened with stevia. They also offer sugar free flavors. The flavors are fortified with vitamin C and D.
“Part of what we love about Kona Ice is they’re very aware of nutrition and they really want to make sure that they’re getting a good quality product,” Kim Etter said.
If you want to know where to find the Kona Ice of Lancaster truck, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/konaicelancaster/. They are also on Instagram @konaice.lancaster.av
Kona Ice of Lancaster will be at Grace Lutheran Christian School, 856 West Newgrove St. from 2:30 to 4 p.m. today for a fundraiser.
Erik is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. His younger brother is in the Air Force, and another brother served in the U.S. Army.
“We’re always thinking about different ideas and what we can do, and different businesses. When we started talking about Kona ice it just seemed like a great family business. It was something that we thought we could do this together,” Kim said.
Kim said her husband and daughter take care of the back-end of the business.
“We’ve really slowed down in the winter … The trucks are kind of hibernating right now,’ Erik Etter said.
“The kids don’t have a problem with it,” Kim Etter said of Kona Ice in the winter.
Each Kona Ice truck franchisee can purchase a territory. Kona Ice of Lancaster covers the western part of Lancaster and Palmdale, and includes Acton, Leona Valley, Gorman, and Lebec. They can visit the southern part of the Valley, such as Pearblossom and Littlerock because that is open territory.