When Kevin Greenwell drives around town, people notice. If they miss the giant penguin on the side of his truck, they’ll at least hear the tropical tunes coming from his mobile shaved ice stand. The children at Small Steps Children’s Academy shouted as he pulled into the parking lot Friday afternoon for his weekly visit.
“The kids love the big penguin and the icees and it’s a wonderful time for the kids and for us,” said Lindsey Richards, who teaches the 3-year-olds at Small Steps Children’s Academy. “It’s so hot out in the summer. This makes for such a nice treat for them.”
July is the first month Greenwell and his wife Sherrie have owned their Kona Ice vehicle, but business has been good thus far. The unbearable heat has people running to grab a cup of shaved ice that they can top with their choice of colors and tastes at the “flavorwave” located on the outside of the truck. It allows customers to have a unique do-it-yourself experience and is stocked with 10 of the most popular flavors like strawberry fresh, groovy grape, tropi-Kona and tiger’s blood.
Greenwell and his 12-year-old daughter Kaitlyn prepared the cool treats inside the truck while the youngsters came up one at a time to choose their toppings. Richards says the children favor brighter colors over flavor and are rarely happy with just one. She tried warning many of them that mixing the flavors might affect the taste, but most of them flipped up the handle on two or three different flavors, covering the smooth ice in mixtures of red, green and blue syrup.
“Other then playing in the water every once in a while, this is a regular neat and cool treat,” Richards said. “They get to sit and have a break and enjoy their time.”
Scheduled stops like the one at Small Steps Children’s Academy is exactly the idea the Greenwells had in mind when they decided to invest in the Kona Ice franchise. The closest one is in Knoxville.
“It’s great for fundraising and I’ve got two kids that are into cheerleading and dance that are always looking for ways to raise money,” Greenwell said. “I saw this online and thought it would be a good way to help a lot of organizations make money.”
The stifling temperatures cause most people to cringe, but not Greenwell.
“The hotter the better in the shaved ice business,” he said.
The Kona Ice truck is making rounds through neighborhoods in Washington County and has spent a lot of time at softball fields cooling off over-heated players. The big tropical-themed truck will be out and about through October.
“They’re always excited to see us and happy when we leave,” Greenwell said.
For more information about the Greenwells’ Kona Ice truck, call 930-4321.