Icy business rolls through O.C.

Dan Muraira and Eric Wilford often have their Kona Ice Trucks compared to ice cream trucks, but there's one big difference.

"We don't go anywhere unless we're invited," said Wilford, who's Muraira's uncle. "We aren't an ice cream truck where we just drive around."

The San Clemente residents just purchased their third Kona Ice Truck for Huntington Beach, which has operated in the city for the past three years under two previous owners, to help meet an increasing demand for their services.

Muraira and Wilford's bright blue, island-themed Kona Ice Trucks can be found at a number of different events and fundraisers put on by schools, little leagues churches and at city events throughout Orange County. The groups that invite Kona Ice out to serve shaved ice and ice some ice cream truck favorites for a few hours get back a percentage — usually 20% — of the proceeds.

"A lot of the schools throughout Orange County need money right now, same with sports leagues and churches," Muraira said. "We were turning down so much business. We added this one, and it's helped us meet the demand."

In two-and-a-half years, Muraira and Wilford have donated more than $80,000 to organizations with the other two Kona Ice Trucks they own and operate in San Clemente and Irvine.

"We are looking forward to doing more of that here," Wilford said.

Torelli Realty Marketing Director Holly Schwartz has had Kona Ice set up shop for several community events her Costa Mesa business hosts. Schwartz, whose 365 Things to Do in Costa Mesa site is partnered with Times Community News, refers to it as "the traditional ice cream truck on steroids."

The entire Kona Ice franchise, which has more than 200 trucks in 40 states, is founded on raising money for local organizations. The company has donated about $3 million to different groups since it was founded in 2007.

Muraira said Kona Ice gives organizations a quick and easy way to raise money. The trucks are self contained and usually generate $100 to $200 in about two hours at events.

"It's a quick way for schools to raise money, there's no pressure, they don't need to help out or anything," Muraira said. "We just roll in with the truck and we just pull out whenever we're done."

The Kona Ice Truck will roll into Huntington Beach's Village View Elementary School from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and will also take part in Torelli Realty's annual Snowland community event at Balearic Community Center, 1975 Balearic Drive, Costa Mesa.

The event, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 8, will help raise money for Costa Mesa's Adams Elementary School.

"Kona Ice has just been amazing," Schwartz said. "They do a great job. They've got a real fun truck and all the kids go crazy over the ices, and they give a percentage back. … It's really good for everybody."


Twitter: @TCNShortall

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