Kona Ice ‘Konvention’ brings big bucks to Northern Kentucky
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - It’s February and you may not be craving an icy treat, but you may notice some Kona Ice trucks in Northern Kentucky this weekend.
The ice trucks will be around town because a large meeting with the franchise owners is happening now through Sunday.
Not only is it a time for the owners to get together and learn from one another, but it’s also a big economic boost to the region.
“Never did I think it would catch on as big as it’s caught on and we’re very excited, very blessed about this,” Kona Ice Founder Tony Lamb reflects.
Lamb started driving the first Kona Ice truck in Boone County back in 2007.
Now, there are 1,500 franchises in 49 states and Canada.
Their annual convention is happening now in Covington at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center attracting 1,200 people to the region.
“We take over the entire facility, we book out four hotels,” explains Lamb, “We bring in all kinds of people in it just means a lot to the community.”
A lot of money too.
“For Kona Ice to come in one of the times where it’s a little colder, a little bit slower it leaves behind a big economic impact,” says Meet NKY President Julie Kirkpatrick, “It’s actually a million-dollar impact.”
Not only will the Kona Ice franchise owners be learning from one another, but they also will be donating to a local charity.
Fairhaven Rescue Mission will be receiving gently used clothing from the convention. Other charities will also benefit from an auction.
To date, Kona Ice has donated $135 million to charities around the country.
“You don’t get involved in Kona unless you’re community-minded,” says Lamb, “And it started here in Northern Kentucky. We started giving back to our schools, our youth sports and clubs and things.”
The convention center is happy to be the host of this large event for the 8th year.
“Getting this convention industry and this face-to-face meeting industry back [after the pandemic], getting it better than ever, it is huge to our hotels, to our traction,” Kirkpatrick continues, “Our airport and definitely our convention center and all of the 14,000 employees that work in this industry in this region.”
By the way, there is a wild west country theme to the “Konvention.” So, if you see some people around town wearing cowboy hats and flannel, you know why.
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