Eric and Kelly Blum were investigating opening their own business, although they were not certain what endeavor they would choose to pursue. The Sea Isle City residents are both real estate agents, and Kelly said they were looking for something to do when business was down.
So they signed up with Kona Ice, and took over a shaved ice truck.
The Kona Ice franchise has been rated No. 1 for 2013 according to Entrepreneur Magazine. Kona Ice trucks can be reserved to attend events, and a percentage of the revenue the truck raises during an event can be returned to the hosting organization.
"It's both a business and giving back to community," Kelly said. "When you're a Realtor, it's a long-term kind of payback in terms of making people happy. (With Kona Ice) you get immediate response, especially working with kids and the schools, people are so happy."
Eric Blum said that for their 20th wedding anniversary, he and his wife took a trip to Hawaii, where they tried shaved ice. When Kelly was researching business ideas back at home, Eric said she came across the Kona Ice franchise, and she was reminded of the tropical dessert they had on vacation.
The Blums were sold, and they picked up their Kona truck in April, and have been doing business since June. So far, the Blums say the truck has received positive feedback in the events department, but not so much doing street routes.
"Unfortunately, we tried doing the neighborhoods in Cape May Court House, and kids just don't play outside anymore," Kelly said. "So we weren't real successful doing the neighborhoods."
So far, the Blums have attended many different events throughout Cape May County, including fairs, festivals, corporate events, neighborhood socials, church events and birthday parties. The Blums said they can offer to give back as much as 25 percent of daily proceeds to the organizations they serve.
"I really liked the Strawberry Festival in West Cape May, that was one of our first events," Eric Blum said. "We like them all. As long as it doesn't rain, they're all great."
The Blum's Kona Ice truck serves tropical shaved ice where customers have the option of applying flavors themselves from the truck's "Flavorwave," which Kelly said is the truck's most popular feature. The Flavorwave offers the truck's top 10 flavors on the outside of the truck, ready to be dispensed.
"The kids can mix and match however much or little as they want (with the Flavorwave); mango is probably our best seller, and we sell out of strawberry banana at probably every place we go to," Kelly said.
The Blums are even making working the truck a family affair. Eric said that his daughter, Nicole, 12, has worked some events and that her favorites are the ones at the preschools, because the kids are so excited to see the bright Kona truck that plays calypso music in the parking lot of their school.
"Part of the reason we got into (Kona Ice) is our kids are getting to be working age, and it's something we thought they could do and fit into their schedules," said Eric, who also has a 15-year-old-son.
So far, the Blums' Kona Ice Truck is confirmed to be at Wildwood's Olde Italian Festival on Sept. 27 and 28 and at Middle Township's Harvest Festival on Oct. 26.
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