Greater Cincinnati entrepreneur Tony Lamb is the founder and president of Kona Ice, a mobile food truck franchise that serves up flavored shaved ice. Lamb started the company in 2007 after an encounter with an unwelcoming ice cream truck. One summer evening, he followed his daughter out to the street as she waited for the truck to stop. Once it did, a bare-chested, tattooed, and pierced driver came to the window to take her order. Lamb’s daughter was scared but managed to ask for a popsicle. Lamb saw how powerful the draw of the ice cream truck could be and envisioned a truck that was clean, with music that was joyful, treats that were affordable and fresh, and a driver that was clean-cut and polite. That experience led him to found Kona Ice, which was named one of Business Courier’s “2012 Fast 55” due to its rapid growth.
There are now about 250 Kona Ice franchise units across the US, but Lamb is most proud of the company’s Million Dollar Giveback program, which has donated more than $11 million to schools, sports teams, and non-profit organizations.