The name “Mobile” Ice Cream is very fitting for our long-time distributor friends in Ashland, VA for two reasons. First, Miklos “Miki” Jona’s company has 40 ice cream trucks (up from 7 trucks when the company was started in 2003) on the road delivering frozen treats to neighborhoods and offering them at special events, birthday parties and daycares. Thus, this family-owned company is categorized as a “mobile” vendor in the ice cream industry.
Second, Miki, his wife, Aniko Levai, and their two teenage sons live a “mobile” lifestyle traveling in their RV across the country. Not your average office. But then again, Miki is not your average business owner. First generation Hungarian immigrant Miklos, states, “When the pandemic started two years ago and our sons were home, we didn’t want them sitting around, so we decided to travel while they attended school virtually. And, boy, did they travel! From sea to shining sea. For example, they lived in California for six weeks and recently, they spent time in Arizona, and they will be “mobiling” to Niagara Falls this spring.
When Rich Trotter, President, Rosati Ice, and I chatted with Miklos, he and his family were in the Florida Keys (since mid-December) and Miki admitted, “My kids don’t want to leave.” I didn’t want to leave the zoom interview because his travel stories were so fascinating. During our visit, his sons -ages 11 and 13 – squealed with delight in the background; they just caught a grouper and wanted to share their catch with their father. Previously, they caught two different types of sharks. What wonderful life lessons! Rich and I will fondly remember the view we got on our zoom cameras and a proud dad sharing this special time with his sons … and with us.
I am always curious about the origins of Rosati’s customer relationships. Miki shared that previously he worked for Ron Bright, one of Rosati’s customers, and met Rich Trotter at a convention. “I purchased Italian ice from other companies, but Rosati’s is better. Like me, our customers like Rosati’s product quality and variety.” You got that right because Rosati Ice’s taste, texture and color is legendary with more than 200 SKUS from 4-ounce school cups to 2.5-gallon tubs for scoop shops. All made in a dairy-free, nut-free facility in suburban Philadelphia.
For last season, Miki brought in refreshing Rosati Ice’s 6-ounce cups in crybaby sour apple, crybaby sour cherry, rosy ‘moji, and lemon, along with 10-ounce cups of Rosati’s Italian Ice in cherry, cotton candy blue raz, crybaby sour apple, mango, and watermelon
“Miki claims “We sold out of all our Rosati Italian Ice inventory.” And why not, when Rosati Ice is America’s first and the World’s best Italian ice!
For this season, Miki plans to add Rosati’s mangoneada cups to his menu for his huge Hispanic market. After all the challenges of the last two years, Miki is optimistic and says “Hopefully, it will be a good season.”
Not only do Miki’s sons attend school remotely but he and his office manager, Kristen Allen, work remotely as well. “Kristen is the glue that holds it all together. She’s great”, boasts Miki. Miki is not the only entrepreneur in the family. Aniko, his multi-talented, tech-savvy wife has her own successful business – placeofmytaste.com – chock full of decorating ideas. Check out the photos of their festively decorated RV. So much creativity in one small space. And, in ONE family!
I was so blessed to witness these two fathers – and business owners – share their hopes and dreams for their children and their industry on the zoom interview. “You are living the life you want to live,” Rich concluded, and Miki cheerfully and proudly agreed. Happy trails to you, traveling man, your beloved family, and your awesome team.
11186 Hopson Road
Ashland, VA 23005