Wed, February 21, 2024

New franchisee to take over “cool” local business

Maranda Carruth has always wanted to be a business owner, but she wasn’t sure what type of business it would be.

Carruth will officially take over the Kona Ice of Western Augusta franchise on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, but she has been preparing for this new role for the last three years by learning the business from the current franchise owners, Dean and Denise Dozier. Dean is retiring, and Denise plans to continue working with the business for now. “It will be nice to have her around while I’m learning,” says Carruth, a graduate of Lincoln County High School who has worked for the Dozier’s for about five years. Before she began working at Kona Ice, she worked for other businesses, such as Academy Sports + Outdoors. “I was not made for retail,” Carruth states. At 19, she began driving one of the business’s trucks to various locations throughout the CSRA, such as local schools, churches, and high school football games. While Carruth is excited about running the franchise, she is also very nervous. “It’s a lot of responsibility when so many people depend on you,” she explains. “I don’t want to let people down.”

Maranda Carruth will become franchise owner of Kona Ice of Western Augusta on Jan. 1, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Maranda Carruth)
Denise Dozier worked in emergency management before she and her husband, Dean, decided to buy a Kona Ice franchise. (Photo taken by Josh Heath)

The Dozier’s became franchisees in 2013 after working in emergency management for many years. In that time, they have enjoyed interacting with their customers, especially children. “It’s always exciting to pull up to a school or daycare” and see the kids’ excitement, says Dean. “How could you not love that?” says Denise, a Maryland native. They have also given back to many local schools. “Being from somewhere else, it was great to be a part of this community,” she explains.

Dean Dozier says he will miss taking the truck to schools and seeing the kids’ excitement. (Photo courtesy of Maranda Carruth)

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While owning this type of business can be fun, it’s also both time-consuming and labor-intensive. They explain their busy season lasts from March to November. For the first couple of years, they closed from November to March, but now the business is open throughout the year. “The hours are event-based” and often long, Carruth says. At times, they have trucks out in the community from early in the morning until late at night. For that reason, Denise says it’s hard to find a good work-life balance. Kona Ice trucks can be seen at many community events, including Augusta GreenJackets games and Fort Gordon’s Independence Day celebration. They also sell hot chocolate at Fort Gordon. Many churches, such as Abilene Baptist, True North, and Stevens Creek hire the business to sell frozen treats after Sunday services.

Their busiest time of the year is always early July. “Fourth of July is nuts,” Dean states. “There are eight different events during fourth of July week.” He looks forward to spending his retirement hunting and fishing, two of his favorite pastimes, but he’s available during busy times. “If she gets in a bind, I’ll come help,” Dean explains. The number of employees ranges from five to18 based on the business’s needs. Carruth likes giving local residents their first jobs. “We can help them grow in a job,” she states. Carruth also looks forward to owning a business led by women. “I’m excited to make a difference in my community and establish myself as a business owner,” she adds. “I’m excited to be a business owner in Columbia County.”

The local franchise currently has four trucks, which they use to sell shaved ice at local schools, churches, and events. (Photo courtesy of Lori Burdette)

Founded in 2007 in Kentucky, Kona Ice has franchises throughout the U.S. The company sells shaved ice in various flavors, such as Ninja Cherry and Monster Mango. In the local franchise, their best-selling flavors are Blue Raspberry and Tiger’s Blood.

For more information, visit kona-ice.com or call 706-466-1559.

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