Have you spotted the tropical shaved ice truck that makes its rounds in Morgantown? There's luau music playing and bright leis lining the windows. And, likely, there are children running up to the window to throw money at the folks working.
That's Kona Ice, the mobile shaved ice company that has locations across the country. But, did you know that it was created by a Parkersburg High School graduate in 2007? Tony Lamb, a 1987 grad, started the company in northern Kentucky and began franchising in 2008. It has been ranked one of the fastest-growing franchises in the country by Entrepreneur Magazine.
Morgantown's Kona Ice folks reached out to me to see if I'd be interested in a midday snack (for free!), so, of course, I said yes. There are only 2 or 3 trucks in the state, so I was excited to see the one that frequents North Central West Virginia.
The truck parked alongside my work building, and the sound of tropical music lured me and a few of my coworkers over to the parking lot. And there it was, a little piece of paradise right in the middle of a concrete jungle. A few people had already gathered in line to get a taste of some shaved ice on a warm day.
When it was our turn, we were lei-ed and given a color-changing cup full of ice. How fun! Then, I went to town on trying all the different flavors. First, I went for the Tiger's Blood, which is a red punch flavor. And the Lemon Lime-A-Licious was pretty good. Oh, and the Wild Watermelon was that perfect fruity flavor. I ended up with drenching the ice in Blue Raspberry, their most popular flavor. The cool thing is you have the ability to put as little or as much of the flavor as you want - and to mix and match!
So, we sat outside, wind blowing, listening to tropical music, wearing our leis and eating this fruity tropical ice. It's a light, refreshing treat that you don't feel too guilty about - always a plus! Plus, one of the big parts of Kona Ice is giving back to the community, which is great to see.
So, if you see them out and about, be sure to grab a cup, knowing that it has roots right here in the Mountain State -- and who couldn't use a little tropical break?