machine owner spotlight

Steve Watson

Sulpher Springs, Texas

Steve Watson retired three years ago from a long career in the utilities industry. With time on his hands and some extra savings lying around, he decided that investing in a passive income would both keep him busy while also gaining him a positive return on his investment. Steve’s first machine is doing great and he is looking forward to purchasing his second one soon.


Steve Watson – Sulpher Springs, TX

“Hi, my name’s Steve Watson and I own a Kooler Ice business to Sulpher Springs, Texas. It’s called S&S Ice. My background is with a utility company here in Texas. During that time frame, I worked in the maintenance control systems and support for 38 years.

Some of my hobbies that I like to do, I like to hunt, I like to fish, I play golf. Three and a half years ago I retired and I had a little extra cash and I wanted to invest in a turnkey operation. My brother-in-law and a couple of my friends had invested in ice vending machines. And what I did is I took a look at that. I went on different websites and looked at the machines and did a lot of research on the companies. And Kooler Ice caught my eye. They had a good website, they looked like they had a really good machine. And that’s what kind of got me started looking at their machines versus what I really needed to look at. And I think Kooler Ice had the machine that I needed.

Once we decided to purchase the machine, I contacted Donny Basin and he came up to Sulpher Springs and sat down with myself and my wife and we discussed different options, different machines and came up with the idea of purchasing the A10, which was at that time was a single ice maker machine and we decided that that would be the most beneficial machine for me in this area.

The installation part of it was really good. Really went well. Donny and his group showed up and installed it within half a day and we were up and running within the next day. So that all went really, really smooth. Yeah, he went over the machine and basically I felt comfortable servicing it and doing what I needed to do within the first day. Of course, I had a mechanical background so it was all pretty easy to me.

The last four years that we’ve been running this machine, everything’s been running really well. I’m a statistics type guy, so I keep up with the availability of that machine, and the machine is running at about 98% availability, which when you’re talking about reliability of machinery and stuff like that, anything above 88% is considered excellent. So that’s another good thing about the machines.

There are several things that Kooler does that I think’s pretty cool. One is their portal. I use that quite a bit. I run reports off that portal and kind of keep tabs on what my productivity is. The second thing is that the app that you have, that you can get on your iPhone, it tells me when there’s any type of problem, I can look at that app. If I’m out of bags, if I’ve got an error and I got a door open, it will tell you exactly what you want to know about your machine.

My advice would be to make sure that you know where you want to put the machine before you purchase one. I think you need to do your homework on that because that’s going to dictate whether or not you’re successful or not. The second thing that I would do is to make sure that you buy a machine that your business can grow into. Don’t buy a machine that you wish you would have more capacity in later on, go ahead and bite the bullet and buy that bigger machine. I am very happy to be in the ice vending business. I’m glad that I did choose Kooler Ice over the other manufacturers. It’s been a really great experience for me. It’s been fun. I’ve enjoyed it and looking forward to my second machine.”