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Plant City Observer Thursday, Mar. 15, 2018 8 months ago

Frost impressions

Kona Ice is now serving sweet treats and tropical tunes to Plant City.
by: Breanne Williams Staff Writer

A sweet frozen treat is now making its rounds in Plant City just in time for the return of Florida’s sizzling summers.

Diana Kerr has completed Kona Kollege and joined the Kona Ice family. She and her new tropical inspired truck will cover Plant City and some of the surrounding areas, offering shaved ice, featuring more than 25 flavors and up to 500 different combinations to her fellow residents.

“It wasn’t even something I was looking for,” Kerr said. “I was multitasking and ended up on their website. It was a ‘meant-to-be’ kind of thing. The more I heard and the more I talked to people, I knew that it was a perfect fit for me and my daughter. Kona Ice is kind of like a family, they support you throughout the entire process.”

She reached out to Kona on October 14  and, by Halloween she was mailing her check and signing

Courtesy of Diana Kerr. Kerr and her daughter inside the new ice truck.

paperwork. Though all new entrepreneurs are given months to prepare before they begin their Kona careers, Kerr decided to dive in. She went to Kona Kollege the first week of January and, by the beginning of February, she was driving her new truck home from a convention in Ohio.

She’s been fully active in her truck for three weeks and has already seen the community welcome her with open arms.

One of the things that drew her to Kona Ice was the company’s philanthropic commitment to the communities it serves. The company has only been around since 2007, but it has already given more than $50 million back to local nonprofits like schools, teams and organizations.

Kerr plans to embrace that mindset by offering “Kona Days” at local schools. Administrators can raise money for underfunded programs or initiatives while also treating their students. Schools contact Kerr and she brings her frozen goodies to either a class, field day or game. When working with these nonprofits, Kerr gives 25% of the proceeds back to the organization.

“It’s been so great to get to bring the truck to local schools, the kids are just so excited,” Kerr said. “We have a big sign in the window about the company giving $50 million back and the kids have all been curious about that. I’ve been able to talk to them and explain that they’re helping their own school out every time they purchase something.”

The enthusiasm is contagious. Just last week, Kerr drove to a local school and, even though it was barely 50 degrees outside, she couldn’t get her window open before a horde of students had flocked to the window. She said the kids have just enjoyed having something different and so unique.

Her unique flavors, like Butterbeer and Tiger’s Blood, are always a huge hit with the children and she said Kona is in the process of crafting an entire menu with adult flavors like Rose Sangria. She prefers a cappuccino, caramel and french vanilla concoction that creates an iced coffee-flavored treat.

Soon, Kerr, said she will be running the truck full-time. Before she even officially was off the

ground, she was contacted by Disney to work some events at its local offices. She’s beginning to be booked left and right and has already had to reach out to her Kona family for help on days she was double booked.

Luckily, she said everyone at Kona is here to help and support each other. She said the business just draws happy people, people who want to help make the world a little brighter.

“We’re all very different, but all similar,” Kerr said. “We all want to give back and better everyone’s lives. I’ve had some experience in customer service, but the people I was at Kollege with, some were doctors, ex-cops, former military, students out of college, people on their third careers. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s like a family. It’s just a pretty fun business to be a part of.”

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