Biz Buzz: Entrepreneurs in Newport Beach Take Many Forms

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The business community in Newport is diverse, and includes entrepreneurs with unique stories. This week I focus on two of those stories: Kona Ice Truck and The Butchery.

Kona Ice Truck

Launched last July, Kona Ice Truck is owned by Jayson and Holly Yardley. This unique rolling franchise is based in Kentucky and was brought to Jayson and Holly’s attention by their kids. After looking at several franchise choices, they decided on Kona Ice Truck for many reasons.

“One was because of the high satisfaction ranking from other franchisees,” Holly shared, but there was a more personal reason.

“We wanted to make this a family business and introduce our kids to business.” Jayson said.

So they took their kids, ages 11 and 12, and went to Kona College together.

“This was a way to teach them firsthand what it’s like to own a business, and as important, how to become involved in the community,” said Jayson.

The decked out, mobile shaved ice truck features a tiki hut top, self-serve flavor wave and wild flavors such as pickle and tigers blood.

When asked the difference between Kona Ice and snow cones, it comes down the one thing: the quality of the ice.

They use commercial products. The ice shaver is specifically made for the Kona product. With 10 flavors to choose from, there is something for everyone. And if there is not, they also offer custom flavors.

Their territory covers Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Laguna Beach, and they can serve up to 300 guests every hour.

Unlike an ice cream truck, they don’t randomly drive through neighborhoods. Instead, most of their visits are events-based and by invitation.

Typical events include birthdays, corporate events and charity partnerships. They work with churches, schools and charities and regardless of the invitees they do one thing every time. They give back 20 percent towards the event promoters and the charities they wish to support.

For information or to hire the Kona Ice Truck, contact (949) 627-5662.

Butchery partners Robert Hagopian and Brian Smith
Butchery partners Robert Hagopian and Brian Smith

The Butchery

The Kona Ice Truck is a new concept, but the recently-opened Butchery at Crystal Cove Shopping Center in Newport Coast is not. It is run by experienced business partners, Robert Hagopian and Brian Smith.

Smith is a contractor and Hagopian is in real estate finance, but these two long-time friends had a common need. They wanted a local butcher shop to find high quality meat.

In 2009 they lamented about the distances required to drive for a good butcher shop, so they opened their own.

Shop number one in Brea was followed by number two in Costa Mesa. But even that was too far away, so the next closest thing to their Laguna Beach homes was Crystal Cove.

“We knew the Laguna Beach people appreciated high quality beef and meat, but getting to the Costa Mesa shop can be a chore,” Hagopian lamented. “People are used to buying ‘off the rack’ and what they want along with that, is convenience.”

Both Smith and Hagopian recall local butcher shops from their roots in Boston and Northern California, but that local shop access and intimacy was missing in Orange County, they said.

When asked what makes their shop unique, Hagopian said, “It’s the fine quality of meat which we get from top tier Midwest ranchers and others that raise beef the way it used to be.”

They noted that their best sellers are center cut rib eye steaks, filets, and house marinated steak tips, which are the east coast version of tri-tips.

Even with three shops open, both entrepreneurs still maintain their other jobs since they have teams in place that take personal pride in the Butchery.

When asked if franchising was in their future, the response was a firm “No way!”

“We started down that road in the beginning and it did not work out,” Hagopian said. “For us to offer the best products, we have to commit to maintaining the relationships with our suppliers, our employees and our customers.”

The Butchery is at 8058 Pacific Coast Highway in Crystal Cove. They can be reached at 949) 715-3383 or butcherymeats.com.

In addition to retail meat products they also offer a deli counter plus a comprehensive assortment of craft beers.

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