Claire Pennington is living her dream, one cup of shaved ice at a time.
Pennington, originally of Brentwood, is the Wilson County owner of Kona Ice, which provides frosty treats at parties, churches, schools, fundraisers and even the park.
“The amount of joy and happiness that a single Kona Ice can bring to a child or adults face is hands down the most rewarding thing about this career,” she explained.
Pennington started with the franchise in June 2020. She had one truck operating out of the Cookeville area. During that time, she and the previous Wilson County franchise owner discussed the sale of his business, which she purchased last October. Pennington now owns three trucks, three kiosks and a mini.
“When I joined the franchise, my dream was to operate in Wilson County where my children live, but that territory was already owned and occupied. When John Kennedy told me he wanted to sell, I felt like God had a plan for me all along,” she said.
Being family-friendly is important to Pennington, as is being affordable.
“Families are what keeps our business going. I love being at the park and having a family of six come up and the mom knows that she can afford to buy a Kona for each one of her kids,” she shared.
“Not only do we strive to be affordable but our business has already given back over $130K to the community over the last few years. When you see us in schools, at the ballfields, or at certain local events, there is a good chance we are donating 20 percent of our sales back to the organization. That is what sets us apart from other businesses.”
Pennington enjoys playing volleyball, basketball and tennis. She is also mom to sons Jimmy, 6, and Jack, 4. She worships at Zeal Church in Nashville.
Pennington named Beauty Boutique owner Necole Bell, Sandbar Nashville owner Leah McCormick and Heart Haven owner Have Nutt as three women she admires.
“All three of them are some of the hardest working women that I know and they have successful businesses to prove it. Not only are they hard working, go-getters, and dedicated, they are God fearing women who genuinely care about their customers and care about their community. They are women who have family and make time for their family while juggling the ups and downs of owning a business,” she said. “I worked for Necole for a short period of time and she is the reason that I was inspired to go after my dreams and start a business. These women probably have no idea, but they are my role models and who I strive to be like each and every day.”