Southsider Voice editor
What goes through a mother’s mind when her youngest of four children turns 5 and is ready for kindergarten?
Get a job.
At least that is what Jeanne Lawrie Farah decided to do. She looked for work and explored franchises to buy into but couldn’t find the right fit, at least not until she checked into a Kona Ice franchise, which is known for its fabulous snow cones.
Farah was familiar with seeing the vibrantly painted, whimsical vehicles that blared lively calypso music when she was driving on the Northside of town. After exploring the opportunity she discovered that a franchise was available on the Southside.
Growing up down here with her brothers, Judd, Stan and Joe and parents, Doug and Karen Lawrie, she knew Kona Ice would suit her needs. More than that, franchise founder Tony Land started the business with the intent to give money back to children, clubs, schools, whoever needed help. That had always been part of his vision for the business: giving back. And that is what attracted Farah to look into owning a Kona Ice franchise.
Farah says the company is special because of that initiative, which ensures that a sizable percentage of sales from each event the franchisee serves is returned to whomever contracted the work.
She has donated money to Southport Middle School, Glenns Valley Elementary and the St. Francis Soccer Club.
Farah went to Central Catholic Grade School and graduated from Roncalli in 1987. From there she headed to the University of Dayton and majored in political science. After college she joined the Peace Corps for what became a life-changing decision as she spent the next two years in the West African landlocked country of Mali, where she worked with midwives and provided health education for mothers and their children.
From there she moved to Boston and continued to work with the less fortunate, including the homeless and those with AIDS.
After a few years she met Ken Farah, a civil engineer and Northeastern University graduate. The two fell in love and got married at Sacred Heart Church in Indianapolis, although they still lived in Boston.
After having their first child, Isaac, now 13, Farah felt a pull to be closer to her family in Indiana, so the couple moved back to the Hoosier State, where they had three more children, Chris, now 11, Nick, 9 and Sophia, 5.
Farah purchased her ice truck in May and launched her business at the Southport Street Festival. She said it’s her goal to get the word out about the delicious snow cones and the give-back program, which offers an ideal and easy way for baseball teams, marching bands, day-care centers and churches to raise money. Several Perry Township schools brought her in for field days and special events during May.
Farah is also available for birthday parties and company picnics and can be reached at 987-5662 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. She can be followed on Twitter at Kona Ice Marion County SW to see where her truck is.
Organizers need not do much of anything as Kona Ice does it all. The unique truck offers self-service and 10 different flavors. As a mother, Farah appreciates that there are four sizes of cups, $2, $3, $4 and $5, so there is an affordable Kona Ice for everyone.
The lines can be daunting, but they move quickly,” said Farah. “We can serve 300 Kona Ices in an hour.”
Enough ice can be stored on the truck to make more than 750 cones.
The job is truly a family affair as Farah can take her children with her to events if they are out of school. Her nieces and nephews have also helped out.
She wants all of them to learn about business and being entrepreneurs. Her children are the official greeters, and Farah often hears them chatting with customers and answering questions.
Farah said she is proud that her children have become good at interacting with others.
With this new job, she has become one of the favorite moms on her block.