by Lorie Lewis Ham
Take a video tour of Mooner’s at the end of this article!
This February something new and exciting moved into the spot on 10th Street in downtown Reedley that used to be the home of Domino’s Pizza. Something not only healthier, but unique! Before you even walk through the door at Mooner’s you are greeted with bright colors and a feeling of fun. This feeling continues once you step inside–combined with great fruit treats and drinks!
Robert Kaminski, owner of Mooner’s, describes the decor as a mix between Disney and hippieland, and calls Mooner’s a fruit experience with fruit treats and drinks. Their trademark fruit treat is called a Fruipe’. “This is our own newly formed trademark brand that is 100% pure whipped frozen fruit–nothing added, and nothing taken,” said Rob. “It is fat free, dairy free, soy free, and gluten free. People love it and the lines have literally been out the door for this luscious treat. The beauty is that nearly anyone can eat it–from 2 to 102 years old–because it is just pure fruit.” Mooner’s is also launching a line of Gourmet Fruipe’ concoctions such as a recent offering: Banana Coconut Cream Pie. These premium treats will feature either in-season fruits or be introduced during holidays and other special times of the year. Guests can also add one or many toppings to their Fruipe’, from granola, to sour gummy worms.
“Mooner’s is a great spot in downtown Reedley for a healthy treat,” shared Reedley resident Jenni Flaming. “My kids and I popped in one day expecting to find some yummy fro yo, but instead found something better….frozen fruit! I got the kids the banana coconut pie. After one taste of the kids’ pie I went back and got one for myself too!”
“This is a place where people come to hang out with their friends, for five minutes or five hours,” shared Rob. Guests can also enjoy WIFI, and on Friday and Saturday evenings listen to live music from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. There are plans in the works to have poetry readings as well. Mooner’s wants to showcase as many local artists as possible and bring in a wide array of cultural experiences to the community. “We are looking for folks who play guitar, violin, flute, congos, and other interesting background-type instruments. Our hope is to someday host the first ‘Moon Jams’ outside of Mooner’s. An evening filled with cool music from local artists under a full moon.”
Mooner’s was born from an idea Rob had years ago with some of his college buddies. They wanted to create an atmosphere where people were loved and respected–both customers and employees. Rob wanted it to be a place that not only offered affordable healthy treats, but also where guests would feel welcomed and invited. “Creating harmony, goodwill, and sharing healthy possibilities is our core focus today,” continued Rob. “It’s all in HEALTH….Hospitality, Eating/Exercise, Attitude, Lifestyle, Truth, Honor, are our guiding principles. Most of all, we find opportunities to accept and love our guests from all walks of life, and encourage dialog which fosters deeper relationships. We don’t just want customers, we want to create friends and family!”
“When I went to Mooner’s I instantly felt warm and welcomed,” said local teen Caitlyne Herrera. “There was a home like atmosphere that made you feel happy to enjoy their food. The Fruipe’ is a fresh new and enjoyable dish that I will definitely be going back for.”
Rob moved to Reedley from Indiana to be near his fianceé and felt it was the perfect place for Mooner’s since it is the Fruit Basket of the World. His professional background has primarily been in the corporate world in middle and senior management positions in Operations, Marketing/PR, and Human Resources, within the healthcare and manufacturing sectors.
In support of local agriculture, Mooner’s purchases all of their fruit locally from produce companies in this area or directly from farmers in the valley. They also believe strongly in giving back to the community. To that end, they have a program that they call First Fruits. “We believe that our success and blessings are directly tied to how we treat others without expecting anything in return,” said Rob. “For us, the giving of ‘First Fruits’ helps us to focus on what matters most–impacting those in need. This program is a quietly administered donation effort that seeks to donate the first part of every one of our larger fruit purchases to the poor and needy. But we choose not to call them poor and needy–to us they are just like you and I. We say that we are filling a temporary need and perhaps we get to be the hands and feet of God in some small way by becoming love. We hand out our fruit to friends and employees to pass out to those in need. We also seek out individuals in the community who are in need and deliver fruit to them.”
Their future goals include their “On-The-Go” line, which will feature products that can be purchased in bulk at the store, or customized for individual or group needs. Their products will be sold to groups for meetings, special parties, large events, weddings, or just for those who want a healthy treat that is not offered anywhere else. Smaller and larger cup sizes will be offered for children and family settings. In addition, they are planning a wholesale strategy which Rob stated should be in place in 2014, with a goal to reproduce the Mooner’s retail concept in selected California cities and beyond. “The business growth model includes both retail and wholesale aspects in each new location, to capitalize on the natural synergies for our marketing and sales effort,” shared Rob. “Ideally, we would like to have a Mooner’s in all the warmer weather states.”
Along with the Fruipe’s, Mooner’s also has frozen grapes and something they call grape drops, which are chocolate covered grapes. They serve several fruit teas and plan to add more. Currently, they also offer fruit coffees, but feeling that coffee isn’t as good of a fit with fruits as tea, they will likely discontinue the coffee in the near future.
“We’re excited that Mooner’s chose to be a part of Downtown Reedley,” said Barbie Shakespeare of the Reedley Downtown Association. “They’re an upbeat business with a delicious cutting edge menu, which ties in nicely with our City’s motto, ‘Fruit Basket of the World.’ We’re already noticing that it’s drawing new people to Downtown.”
Mooner’s is located at 1649 10th Street in Reedley and their current hours are Tuesday -Thursday 2 p.m.-8 p.m. and Friday – Saturday 2 p.m.-9 p.m. They will be having their official grand opening sometime in May (watch KRL for details) and will have a website up and running soon. In the meantime, you can find them on Facebook and also watch for listings of their local events right here in KRL.
Editor’s Note: While there to do the video I tried both a Fruipe’ and the grape drops and I will definitely be back! Both are awesome, and the grape drops are to die for!