From KEV to KIM
At the same time, I realized we could build a smaller vehicle that would be more appropriate to the size of our events and the shorter length (compared to the U.S.) of our summers. We took a Ford Transit van and modified it to create a new concept vehicle, the Kona Ice Mobile (KIM). It would be less capital-intensive than the KEV, but could support the same level of sales over a shorter summer.
We launched the KIM in 2016 and operated it parallel to the KEV, to prove the new concept would work. Based on the success of that pilot test, we set up three additional KIMs, which we were approved by the franchisor to begin selling as sub-franchises in 2017. The first of these was launched in Barrie, Ont.
And so I became the master franchisor for Canada. Clearly, my aspirations were bigger than just setting up a business for my kids!
Building a foundation
I’m currently looking for candidates to become our next franchisees. They need the capability to become successful as businesspeople, but also to get heavily involved in their community, rather than just being concerned about making money.
This is an easy business to run well if you have good interpersonal skills. We line up local ice distributors and we supply the syrups direct from the U.S.
Each franchise comes with one KIM to serve a population base of approximately 100,000 people. Franchisees can go on to run multiple vehicles, of course, and to buy additional, neighbouring territories. They can be based anywhere from Windsor to Ottawa. We know this business will grow upon a foundation of happy, successful franchisees.
Andrew Evans is a Kona Ice franchisee and master franchisor based in Chatham, Ont. For more information, contact him at email@example.com.