Despite the economic challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, Tiaundria Mitchell pushed through and opened her own business, a local franchise of the Kona Ice truck. After growing up watching both of her parents run their own businesses, Ms. Mitchell said that she was eager to become an entrepreneur and give back to the community.
Ms. Mitchell, 23, of Pepper Pike earned her bachelor’s degree in sports studies from the University of Akron and her master’s degree in sports administration from Xavier University. She recalls seeing Kona Ice trucks at Xavier and Beachwood High School.
Kona Ice is a Kentucky-based company that sells flavored shaved ice mostly during warm weather months.
The seasonal nature of this franchise lends itself well to Ms. Mitchell. She is co-owner with her mother of Lots of Love Enrichment Center in Cleveland.
Ms. Mitchell said that it is important to her to be a philanthropist and be engaged with her community. She started the Love 4 All Foundation in 2018, which allows Ms. Mitchell to connect with people who have lost someone in their life. She said that she mentors the individuals and helps them make decisions. Through the Love 4 All Foundation, Ms. Mitchell takes on other initiatives. She donated food for Thanksgiving to a local group home, collected coats and hats prior to the cold weather season and adopted a family for Christmas. She provided gifts to children who recently lost their mother.
“I can touch so many people in different ways,” Ms. Mitchell said of her ability to connect with people through her new Kona Ice franchise and her foundation.
For Ms. Mitchell, however, her favorite part about Kona Ice is the company’s commitment to giving back to the community. Each franchise owner donates part of his or her revenue back to various community causes, and Ms. Mitchell said that she is looking forward to contributing to local schools.
“I like the things that [Kona Ices does] for the community,” Ms. Mitchell said.
The Kona Ice truck will come to any event, she said. Ms. Mitchell will bring the truck to birthday parties, job fairs, church events, schools, daycares, social gatherings and corporate events. As the owner, she can decide what percentage of her revenue is donated back.
Ms. Mitchell said that she enjoys working with students, getting to know them and building relationships. She is willing to donate her funds to any need that a school has, whether it goes to the music department, athletic equipment or paying day-to-day bills. Her territory includes Beachwood and Pepper Pike.
Ms. Mitchell began using the Kona Ice truck for events in September, so she has not had the opportunity to visit a school yet. Many schools have been in remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But when they reopen, “I want to get involved as soon as possible,” Ms. Mitchell said. “I just want to help [the schools] out.”