King Kone in Ocean City, MD opened its doors in the summer of 1996 at our original location on 143rd street Ocean Side. 2 families started it in the hopes that they had found the answer to semi-retirement. After the first year only 1 of those families remained active. Brad and Sandy operated King Kone until their final season in 2009. Over those 15 years they established a name for themselves in the Northern OC area as a quality shop where you can find high quality products, attention to detail and most importantly a genuine smile and positive experience. We are still striving for this every day.
The Gorilla Split
In 1997, Brad wanted to develop something that would drive business and connect people to King Kone for a long time. And so the Gorilla Split was born. Today you can visit our 143rd St store and see the names of everyone that has ever completed the Gorilla Split. We are very proud of those names and over the years as the store popularity has increased we have had to put some time restraints around it so that we can give those that choose to take it on our full attention and coaching.
The Second Owners
Rick started his career in Residential Summer Camp and in youth development. He spent 13 years in that field and while there he began working on a business plan for a small business while going over food and beverage budgets one winter. His dream was to own a fleet of ice cream trucks and provide an experience that you couldn’t get through traditional avenues.
While enrolled at Salisbury University, Rick spent his summers at summer camp, but his now wife, Shelly spent her summers working at the beach in North OC. Several times a week when her shift was over she would come into King Kone and get a King Krunch and chat it up with Brad and Sandy. Brad loved Shelly and on more than one occasion tried to get her to work for him. She always joked that she would put him out of business with all the King Krunches she would eat.
When Rick married Shelly, they live in the OC area, and frequented King Kone to visit with Brad and Sandy during the shoulder seasons. One night Rick shared his ice cream truck idea with Brad and he said that, Sandy and him had been talking and they knew that they couldn’t run King Kone forever and were thinking about selling. He asked if we would be interested and without consulting Shelly, Rick said yes.
In late 2009, Rick and Shelly bought King Kone from Brad and Sandy. We often say that we kept it in the King Kone family. Rick and Shelly both ended up working for Brad and Sandy at some point.
King Kone as a Youth Development Program
Although Rick thought he was getting out of youth development and was jumping into the business world he was sorely mistaken. Our first hire in 2010 was a young lady named Angie. Angie was 16 years old and we were to be her first job. Rick had scheduled Angie to begin training on the weekend before Memorial Day, also known as Cruising weekend. The weather was fantastic and Angie and Rick were both overwhelmed with the amount of people that came into King Kone. At the end of the shift Rick called Angie and told her that he knew she was overwhelmed and wanted to quit, and frankly he did as well, but he needed her to come in the next night and that together they were going to make it. It was in that moment that Rick realized that he was doing way more than running a business but had an opportunity to still commit to the work he loved in Youth Development. Angie was an employee for 7 years and worked from being a day time staffer to Shift Leader and eventually became a Manager of one of the stores when we decided to expand in 2015.
Today, Rick, and other leadership staff members, mentor and coach staff to be the best version of themselves every day. Our high school students get lessons in personal finance, leadership and team member skill development and interpersonal coaching. Our college and beyond students begin with lessons around personal finance and debt reduction/destruction, effective workplace behaviors, interpersonal skills and entrepreneurial coaching. We don’t push it on them but when the conversation takes off, watch out.
In 2015 we were looking for an opportunity to grow and we were given that opportunity at our 69th St. location. After talking with our staff and store leaders and with their help we made the jump and expanded. We have never looked back. Today we employ over 20 people in two locations.
We have been very pleased with the operation of 2 stores and are always looking to grow and expand our team. Who knows where we will pop up next.