Profiting Off Season

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Franchises in sectors that were long thought of as seasonal are finding that by adding new services and technologies, they can extend their operations year-round. It’s not only a plus for employees and a more efficient use of equipment–it can be a major boost to the bottom line.

Demand for shaved ice pretty much crashes between October and March in most of the U.S. Or at least that’s what Tony Lamb assumed when he launched his Kona Ice mobile franchise in 2008 in Florence, Ky. But as his business model matured, Lamb realized it wasn’t as simple as that.

Lamb had already learned that roaming neighborhoods looking for business was nowhere near as efficient as partnering and fundraising with schools, youth groups and sports teams and bringing Kona Ice directly to events. As franchisees developed relationships with community groups, clients began asking for ways to partner with the company, even when its trucks were buried to their rims in snow. To Lamb, this was the proof he needed that shaved ice doesn’t have to be a seasonal business.

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