Sherry Ravagnie’s new ride turns a lot of heads.
“It’s like Disney on wheels,” the Huntley mom of three said of her new Kona Ice Truck. “It’s like the Cadillac of ice cream trucks.”
The decked out Kona Ice Truck _ which has a Bose Sound System that plays calypso music and Kona’s patented Kona Ice Flavorwave _ is the first in Illinois. Kona Ice offers Hawaiian shaved ice with hundreds of flavor options.
“It’s pretty fun just watching the heads turn,” Sherry said.
Sherry and her husband, Scott, have the first Kona franchise in Illinois. The family’s territory is determined by zip code and falls mostly in McHenry County.
“I’m sure once this gets out and about you will start seeing more,” she said. “Kona is such a fantastic franchise to work with, very family oriented.”
The Ravagnies have lived in Huntley for over 20 years. Scott is a battalion chief with the Huntley Fire Protection District. She works out of her home in desktop publishing.
“I happen to stumble on the Kona Ice franchise on the Internet. I decided to look into it and the more I read about it, the more I liked the idea,” Sherry said.
What appealed to Sherry was Kona’s philanthropic spirit. The company has given $5 million to schools and sports teams. Franchisees are able to give a percentage of profits back to schools, groups or organizations, Sherry said.
Sherry and her husband have three sons and the family is always doing fundraisers. She wanted to find another way to help out. Sherry thought Kona offer a new option. She will be giving a percentage of the profits at events to organizations. At an upcoming event, she plans to give a percentage of the profits to McHenry County Shop with a Cop.
“It’s a way to give back to our community, it’s simple, it’s fun and has the best results,” she said. "I’m out there to bring something different and exciting to the community.”
Kona offers an affordable treat for families, Sherry said. A family can afford to buy something for everyone, she said. The price ranges from $2 to $5. As a mom, she can appreciate how costs add up for families, she said. Families get a bonus: a Hawaiian lei and rubber bracelet with the purchase of a king size Kona ice. The leis can be ordered in school colors for assemblies or games, she said.
Kona ice, based in Kentucky, has been around since 2009. There are over 300 trucks in service. The truck can do 300 shaved ice cones in an hour.
The difference between a snow cone and shaved ice: a snow cone is made up of little ice pellets while shaved ice is literally like snow flakes, she said.
Making Kona Hawaiian shaved ice is easy, she said. There’s a round black controlled by a step foot pedal. The ice shoots out and creates a cone shape, she said. Customers then can choose their own flavors from Kona’s patent Flavorwave.
The Flavorwave, located on the side of the truck, has 10 different flavors. Children like being able to put the flavor on the shaved ice, Sherry said.
Kona has hundreds of flavors, from standard cherry flavor to dill pickle to tiger’s blood, she said. A popular flavor is strawberry coconut. There are also two sugar free flavors. “What we will do down the road is we will change it up some,” Sherry said. “The kids just love the standard flavors.”
“My personal favorite is wedding cake,” she said. “It tastes like wedding cake. It’s really good. I like to mix it with bubble gum. We’ve got tons of different flavors.”
How well Hawaiian ice would sell in Illinois when the region is inundated with snow and ice is a question Sherry wondered. So she asked franchise owners in other Midwest states.
What franchise owners in Wisconsin, Ohio and Minnesota said is Hawaiian ice sells anytime of year, even when it’s cold outside, she said.
The Ravagnies are also waiting for an indoor cart, which looks like a mini version of the truck that can be used in winter. It has two Flavorwaves and can be wheeled into schools for special Kona days, she said.
The indoor cart looks like a mini version of the truck. It has two Flavorwaves on it. It can be wheeled into schools for special Kona days for rewards or sporting events, she said. It will help Sherry do the business year round. She expects to have the Kona indoor cart by the end of the year. Sherry is doing bookings for 2013.
The Ravagnie’s Kona Shaved Ice truck will be at Marengo’s Settler’s Days on Oct. 7 and will be on hand for the Coach Tomaso Celebration Walk & 5k Fun Run in Huntley on Oct. 13.