machine owner spotlight

Marcella Mitchell

Chatham, Alabama

Marcella Mitchell has owned multiple car washes around the south Alabama area and is always looking for a way to better his investments.


Marcella Mitchell (AL)

“This is Marcella Mitchell at my Chatham car wash location. I’ve been here in Chatham now about 10 years at this particular location.

When I actually got first started, me and the guys was just sitting around at work and they was just telling me, “Hey man, you need to get in there. Sell ice.” I said, “Ice? I don’t know anything about that business.” I said, well we’ve got to talking about it, the neighbors telling me about they had seen the ice machine. And I said, “Well, you know that may be something to look into.” And I actually did some research and got in touch with the Kooler Ice representative and we went from there.

Well I got my first machine, was the IM1000 at another location north of here. That was my first machine and we still have it. It’s in operation today. It is about to get too small for the area, but we will manage to get by right now, but the business has grown. We are actually going to be looking in the future of stepping up to a larger size.

About a year after I put that one there, I got this machine, we got an IM1000 and we put here also and we had it here for approximately four months and for three months, every weekend we ran out of ice. So we seen that we were going to have to have a bigger machine. So we moved up to the 2,500 here, and now actually we’re looking at adding a second ice, well we are in the process of adding a second ice machine to this machine because we are still running out of ice on weekends.

Through word of mouth and actually the customers coming by and I’ve just talked with them about it and showing them the features of the machine and the quality of the ice. But actually we just, we talk about the ice business which I have competition right across the street from me, but as I tell him, I say, “My ice is fresh. I say, “Now you have no idea how long ago your ice that you buy at the convenience store was made. The first thing you’ve got to do is drop it on the ground and break it so there’s no way for it to be fresh. It can’t be fresh ice because it’s froze solid.” That’s one of the biggest selling features and the size of the bag that we can actually dispense here at this machine and the customer really seems to like the larger bags of ice.

Favorite thing is it’s very attractive and it’s well lit and the colors really bring it out and it’s eye catching. And the features on the machine itself are simple to operate and I’m able to actually sell ice 24 hours, seven days a week with cash or credit card.

Someone looking to get into business I would say one of the main first thing is really look at your location because with the ice machine, location is everything because you’re going to have the housewife that comes by to pick up a bag of ice and you’re going to have the deer hunter that’s going to come in with his trailer. He’s going have to have access to get in and get out. And just look at location because you’re going to have a large variety of people that’s going to actually use the machine and everyone looks for the way that they can get in and get out quick. And the size of your machine, it’s always better to be too big than too small.”