Kona Ice re-evaluating business vision

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A closed sign has hung in the Kona Ice Shop’s door for the past few weeks. Owner Teddy Rojas hopes to reopen the shop’s door to the public by the annual Tractor Parade. (Crystal Apilado/Winters Express)

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The Kona Ice Shop may have shut its doors recently, but is not permanently closed. While dealing with the staffing issues plaguing other businesses, owner Teddy Rojas is taking time to re-evaluate his vision for the shop so he can reopen it better than ever, and find dedicated staff.

It’s no mystery that in the wake of the pandemic there is a massive staffing shortage. Although Kona Ice has suffered a setback due to this staffing drought, giving in to defeat was never part of Rojas’ vision for this oasis of sweets. Rojas recently shared the details in an Oct. 17 transparent social media post.

“As some of you may have noticed, we have recently had to close our doors due to staffing issues,” Rojas posted. “This is the second time we have struggled getting the necessary staffing needed to operate our shop.”

Rojas told the Express he wants to fine-tune and make decisions on what offerings the shop will provide to the community.

“We’ve been dealing with a lot of things and trying to overcome them and stay positive about it all. I didn’t want people to think we’re giving up and I told my sister when I made that post, we need to be honest with the community and tell them our vision didn’t work in the beginning. It’s not a fully realized idea, and we want to know what people are thinking so far and what can we do to make things better,” Rojas said.

Part of this includes securing staff for vital roles to help market the shop and engage the community with its products.

“I think now where we lacked last time was showing people the vision. So, when I do reopen, I want to get someone to make videos highlighting what we offer,” Rojas said. “I also want to do more TikTok videos so I’m trying to find some people who want to work and have fun with the shop. Not just goofing around, but I want people to express themselves with our desserts and have fun with it.”

Filling that managerial position is a key component for Rojas and Kona Ice moving forward. Not only are creativity and passion requisites for the job, but so, too, is love for Winters. 

With these aspects facilitated along with continuous community feedback, Rojas is hoping to realize and share his vision for Kona Ice with the town. It simultaneously includes the storefront being the town’s go-to candy shop as well as the go-to spot for gift bags, wine, grab-and-go meals and more.

“We’re looking to take out one of the yogurt machines and turn it into a dairy soft serve which is what people are looking for. We’re also trying to get jarred salads for people. Just a grab-and-go with the dressing inside, maybe arugula and couscous salad with goat cheese or candied pecans,” said Rojas. “I’m also working on getting our beer and wine license so we can hold different local wines so people can come in when places are closed or grab a bottle and go. Another option I want to offer is make-your-own gift baskets so you can come in and grab candies, chocolates, wine, or swag we’re putting out. I also want to mess around with cotton candy and have a stand where people can create their own cotton candy art. Ideally, the manager would be there along with a couple (of) employees helping with all this.”

In the social media post, Rojas mentioned he is looking for an individual “who is creative in culinary sweets.”

The goal is to find someone who is passionate and open to creating new treats to offer at the shop and who is willing to think up new ideas for the Winters location.

Rojas is seeking community feedback on some of the possible new ideas for the shop. 

For more information about the available positions or to reach out with product feedback, send an email to trojas@kona-ice.com or call 707-628-0328 and ask for Teddy.

Stay up-to-date with Kona Ice, one can visit its socials by searching @thekonaiceshop on Instagram and on the Winters community information pages on Facebook.

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