By Makenzie Plusnick—
Funky Munky Shaved Ice is opening soon in Stephenville. Funky Munky, which already has two stores in Weatherford and Mineral Wells, will be located at Southern Honey boutique on the South Loop.
Tonya Williams, the mastermind and owner behind the successful shaved ice stand, says the idea to expand to Stephenville happened quickly.
“My husband and I were driving through Mineral Wells and saw a very small brick and mortar store available for rent, I said that would make a perfect indoor Funky Munky so we turned around, called the owner and made an appointment to look at it the next day,” Williams said. “We have had a stand in Mineral Wells for the past 3 years and if we moved into the brick and mortar it would give us the opportunity to be open year round, so we took the leap of faith, rented the new location and then had to find a place to move the Mineral Wells stand. I always listen to my customers and I know that we already had quite a following from Stephenville and since it was a straight shot down 281, we hired a house mover to move our sweet little stand to its new home at the Southern Honey Boutique.”
Funky Munky began, as most shaved ice shops do, as a stand.
“I opened our first stand June 19, 2014 in the parking lot of the Junktion boutique in Weatherford,” Williams said. “My husband was a service manager for a well-known car dealership at the time and this is what I did along with being a personal caretaker for an elderly couple in Weatherford.”
The shop took time to find its audience.
“The first month or so was not very good at all,” Williams recounted. “My son, who was 18 at the time, worked for me and it just wasn’t going well. I am not exactly sure what happened, I am going to thank social media, the constant pictures and reviews that were being posted and word of mouth, but one day it just blew up. Literally it seemed like it was overnight. I will never forget my son’s panicked call one day when he was working and told me the line of customers waiting to be served was across the parking lot.”
Funky Munky is known for its unique flavors. Their menu features flavors offered year-round as well as seasonal specialties. As the shop grew, other stands began to offer some of these flavors as well.
“After the first season I was constantly thinking of new ideas and things to do with Funky Munky,” Williams said. “Other shaved ice stands started doing some of the same ideas that we had and some of the flavors we were introducing but I actually liked it. It made me try to change up our menu and always stay one step ahead of our competitors.”
Adding to the one-of-a-kind flavors was the retro décor Williams chose.
“The first year I was opened I was told I couldn’t participate in a local event because I had a trailer and the event was specifically for food trucks. So, I found a vintage motor home that Kevin totally converted into a food truck, working on it the weekends and evenings when he got off from the dealership. Once we introduced the mobile truck to our customers it started getting lots of extra gigs around the county.”
The success of the stand inspired Williams to expand the stand. With the expansion came growing pains.
“By year three, Kevin had left the dealership and had joined me full time as ‘Mr. Funky Munky’ and that is when we opened our brick and mortar store in Weatherford and added a stand in Mineral Wells,” Williams said. “Year four was tough, to be honest. People were so used to us being seasonal for so many years and having to shut down because of Weatherford’s city ordinance of a shaved ice season, it was hard to get them to realize we were actually serving our shaved ice year-round.”
The Weatherford city ordinance does not allow shaved-ice stands to stay open year-long, but Stephenville is different.
“The city ordinance now says that shaved ice season is from May 1 to September 30, so you have to move your trailers or stands out of the city limits each season,” Williams said. “This is another reason I am super excited to be in Stephenville, there is no such ordinance and I am hoping that we can leave this location open as long as possible.”
The Williamses are continuing to expand their business.
“Now we are headed in to year five and we have added our third location, which will be the Stephenville location and we are also preparing to franchise,” Williams said. “This is super exciting for us, but at the same time, super scary. I want to make sure that if a Funky Munky is owned by another family that they love it and do it for the same reason that we do which is our love for our customers and our communities.”
Funky Munky has become popular in both Weatherford and Mineral Wells.
“Funky Munky has become a household name in the towns we serve in,” Williams said. “People no longer ask their friends to go get shaved ice or snow cones. They actually say, ‘Hey, let’s go get a Funky Munky’. It’s pretty humbling actually, and almost overwhelming at times.”
Williams prides herself on keeping Funky Munky a family-run business.
“My husband and I both run the business together and we have put everything in to this little gig we do,” she said. “Community is super important to us and we use Funky Munky for many outreach opportunities, from serving the homeless on Lancaster in Fort Worth, doing countless giveaways to our schools and teachers and just serving our community any way that we can. You will always find that each location plays praise and worship music and that families can gather in a fun, positive and safe environment with their kiddos and I have been told that our shaved ice is pretty darn yummy.”
Funky Munky has acquired a large fan base in its five years of business and its customers love the shop for many different reasons.
“Funky Monkey is different because y’all give back so much to the community. It’s so much more than just snow cones,” Stacia Cook replied when Funky Munky asked on its Facebook page what makes it unique.
“That atmosphere and the best snow cones ever,” wrote Alycia Lyon Guthrie. “The ice is so smooth and just the right amount of syrup.”
Tabitha Newman commented, “Funky Munky is more than just a summer paradise for your taste buds. It is a beacon of hope in our community. Whether it’s bringing everyone together to get donations for a much-needed cause, or just asking for water to donate when needed. Funky Munky means family.”
There is no definite opening date at the moment.