Food & Drink: Aloha

“If I had a dollar for every adult I hear say, ‘I haven’t had shave ice in years—since I was a kid … ,’ says Adela Jacobson, who launched her mobile franchise Kona Ice truck (number 793) with her husband Corey last August.

Jacobson and her family moved to Novato from Palm Beach, Florida to enroll their daughter in Novato’s Marin School of the Arts music program. With her husband commuting to San Francisco for work, Jacobson wanted to do something closer to home.

Similar to an ice cream truck, the Kona Ice version plays tropical tunes and offers multiple flavors. However, this is a more interactive experience, as customers get to help themselves to any of the 10 tastes of the trucks’ proprietary Flavorwave dispensing system. An additional 20 flavors are also available, but are not set up to self-serve. The number-one seller is Blue Raspberry, but equally popular is the Tiger’s Blood—a strawberry coconut concoction.

Unlike the iconic ice cream trucks, Jacobson doesn’t drive a route. She quickly learned that with so many scheduled activities for school-aged kids, few were ever home to enjoy a cup of fruit-flavored shaved ice after school, or even on the weekends. Instead she focuses on school events, private parties and corporate functions. She also works with youth sports groups, the city of Novato and others.

“My number-one area of focus is schools. We love fundraising and we give a percentage of our profits back to the schools,” says Jacobson, who, in just one year in business has already contributed more than $11,000 to schools in her district, has adopted a recyclable cup incentive and has added solar panels to her truck.

When her husband asked her if she really wanted to be that shave ice lady, Jacobson replied, “I want to be THE shave ice lady.”

Kona Ice; 415/226-7576.