This article originally appeared in the Friday July 5, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.
A Mission entrepreneur is aiming to provide a way to beat the scorching summer weather and give back to the community at the same time.
Carlos Ruiz has brought Kona Ice, a shaved ice truck franchise that has over 1,000 trucks in 48 states in the country, to Mission. One of the company’s practices involves giving proceeds from the truck back into local communities where they have a presence.
Parked wherever called, Ruiz spent Tues. afternoon outside the Mayberry Pool and the gym of the Mission Boys & Girls Club, selling shaved ice to nearby lifeguards, children and their families amid the heat currently enveloping the Rio Grande Valley.
According to a Kona Ice spokesperson, the franchise has given back over $62 million to non-profits, schools and churches at the local level since they were founded in 2007. Through their profits, franchise owners are able to donate money, school supplies and athletic equipment for entities that need it. Ruiz intends to give 20% of what they earn back to the Mission community specifically.
“We like to give as much as we can,” Ruiz said. “A lot of times it’s just about being out here with the community, so it’s a fun experience.”
Ruiz, a new franchise owner, said opening a business with charitable practices was part of the reason he chose to operate a Kona Ice truck in Mission.
“We want to be able to reach out to the community,” Ruiz said. “You can see with the kids and their smiles interacting with the truck, it creates a positive environment that I think is good to bring here.”
Kona Ice allows the customer to purchase the shaved ice and pour their own flavoring and syrup into the cup, giving them several choices depending on the season and truck.
“It’s been a drastic growth [in the summer], and we love it,” Ruiz said. “It’s a good experience.”
Ruiz called Kona Ice “the best way to give back to the community as much as possible.”
“Without the community what would we have?” Ruiz said. “If we take care of our community and everybody in general, things will be so much better. Everything starts to grow, there’s progress and that’s what we like to see.”
Ruiz hopes to bring more Kona Ice trucks to the Valley.
Because his truck is currently based in Mission, donations from their vehicle will stay strictly in the city.
“We want to be able to cater to everybody as much as possible,” Ruiz said. “We take care of Mission first.”
A Kona Ice truck can be booked for any fundraiser, school, team sport, festival, daycare, tournament, big event, workplace or party. To bring Ruiz’s Kona Ice truck to your event or party, he can be reached via email at [email protected] or (956) 746-5275.