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Food & Drink

Family-owned Kona Ice of Wheaton helps summer festivalgoers cool down

WHEATON – Those who want to cool off after a day of exploring the DuPage County Fair might want to stop by Kona Ice of Wheaton's truck at the fair and grab a shaved ice cone.

The truck, part of the Kona Ice franchise, will be at the fair during its run from July 25 to 29 at the DuPage County Fairgrounds, 2015 Manchester Road, Wheaton.

Kona Ice of Wheaton is a family business. Linda Lee and her husband, Mark Nguyen, are partners in the business, along with Nguyen's uncle Mike Nguyen and his wife, Marie Lizbeth Nguyen.

They started operations in May and already have been part of several festivals in the area, including the Taste of Wheaton and Eyes to the Skies in Lisle. Wheaton, Warrenville and Lisle are the main communities they serve.

The family also is committed to raising funds for various organizations through its business. Nationwide, Kona Ice has donated more than $50 million to community-based organizations since launching in June 2007.

"Not only do we get to run a really fun business, we also get to have an impact on the community," Lee said.

Kona Ice of Wheaton recently did a fundraiser for Rainbow Academy Inc. Child Care Center in Carol Stream.

"They really enjoyed it," Lee said. "Whenever we're able to do fundraising events, it's very rewarding."

Kids and adults alike have a variety of shaved ice flavors to choose from, including wild watermelon, blue raspberry, ninja cherry and pina colada.

Many people try to mix and match the flavors, Lee said.

"They try to get that rainbow effect," she said.

Blue raspberry and tiger's blood are currently the two most popular flavors at the truck. As Lee related, tiger's blood tastes like fruit punch "with a hint of coconut."

Lee herself is partial to ninja cherry and pink lemonade.

"Those would have to be my two favorite flavors," she said. "Of course, I have a lot of other ones that I like, too. My husband, Mark, doesn't really have a preference. He just tries them all."

To add to the tropical fun their shaved ice truck creates, sounds of tropical calypso music fill the air at each event and group gathering. After receiving their shaved ice cup, customers can help themselves to any of the flavors on the truck’s Flavorwave, an interactive dispensing system from which they select one or more of the flavors to pour over their shaved ice.

This is the first business venture for all of them. As such, they have faced challenges they hadn't encountered before.

"With any business, it's a lot of work," Lee said. "We had to go through all of the permits, the not-so-fun part of the business. We also had to locate a warehouse for our truck because we have to keep our truck plugged in. And we have to have a commissary where we can make our flavors."

They see their business continuing to grow and look to purchase a second shaved ice truck. Lee said she likes to see the joy their sweet treats bring.

"I am just happy I can brighten someone's day and put a smile on their face," she said.

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Know more

Contact the team by email at mlml@kona-ice.com or phone at 630-392-3906.

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