MACHINE OWNER SPOTLIGHT
For the last 30 years, Frank Walker has been in the hospitality industry and now runs his familie’s business, Walker Limited. Along with his custom food manufacturing business, Frank also owns a car wash and now multiple Kooler Ice vending machines. He maximizes his ROI by combining his Kona ice business with his ice vending machine.
“Hi, my name is Frank Walker. I’m from Anna, Texas and my office here in McKinney, Texas. My company is Walker Limited. I graduated from Oklahoma State University, a degree in hotel and restaurant administration. And for the last 30 years, I’ve been in the hospitality industry.
Once I got out of working for national chain account restaurants, I came to work for Walker Limited, my family’s company that started back in 1977. We do at Walker Limited is we’re a custom food manufacturers for chain account restaurants. We own a car wash also and it’s a real passive form of income for us. With that, we were looking for something to compliment the car wash business and it just so happened when we bought this car wash at the time, there was a older Kooler Ice machine there but it was inoperable. That started the idea of, “Hey, that would be a good compliment to this carwash, should be a passive sort of income.” And so I contacted Kooler Ice.
Immediately I was interested in the idea because we had a great location where the car wash was. It was right in the middle of downtown in Van Alstyne and we have a super location with high visibility and high traffic flow so it just seemed like a real compliment for us. Then when I met Donnie and then with Kooler with Cleveland, just fell in love with the company. Everybody was super nice. I had checked out Twice the Ice also and the idea of paying twice as much money for a machine just didn’t appeal to me and I didn’t want to take up that much space. So there was the relationship that was formed with Kooler.
Also as a compliment to our Kooler Ice business, we have a Kooler Ice machine at the car wash in Van Alstyne and then we just recently purchased our second Kooler Ice machine in Howe, Texas which is just seven or eight miles up the road. We also own a Kona Ice shaved ice franchise. That compliments the Kooler Ice business very well because our territory is Grayson County, Texas and where our two Kooler Ice machines are located it allows us the ability to drive right up and load up the Kona truck with ice and then go do our sales gettings.
All and all, since we’ve had two machines now, the first machine immediately started generating income. We opened that machine in February and all of this, the downtime of the year, we were still selling ice and water. And I have to say, we have had that machine now for I think three years and since we launched that first machine, our sales have always beat prior year’s sales. The machine in Howe, has been up for now two, two and a half months and each month it has surpassed the previous month in sales. Right now it’s trending very well, it’s doing a lot better than we anticipated actually for only being two and a half months.
Some of the favorite things about Kooler Ice for me, I have to say, is the passive income part of the business. The machine itself is pretty much self sustaining, it takes care of itself. If I ever do have a question about one of my machines, Kooler Ice, Tommy and technical support is always quick to answer the phone and walk you through any problems you might have. If I was looking to give any advice to someone that’s looking to get into ice in business, I would strongly urge you to research your location first and foremost. Buying the machine is the easy part, the hard part is finding a location. When you’re starting out, the Kooler Ice footprint seems so obvious because of the amount of capital outlay, it’s pretty small. You can get a large return on your investment with just the machine. And even at the 2500 machine, at Twice the Ice machine is twice as much money as the 2500. Why spend that much money when you could buy multiple Kooler Ice machines and have multiple locations?
I am thrilled to death to be a partner with Kooler Ice, it has been nothing but a great relationship. I feel whenever I call Tommy or Cleveland and have any questions or comments or concerns, they’re quick to call me back and it’s not just a business relationship, they really do care about your success. With our second machine, they did a test to see if this location made sense. There was actually more to it than just throwing a dart against the board and hoping it works. Which really surprised me that the kind of tool was out there for it but they were all too willing to do that.
To be honest with you, when we were looking at our second machine, I was really adamant on wanting to put the machine in the front of the lot and Donnie looked at it and Cleveland looked at it and they looked at the aerial view of it from Google and they strongly suggested that I put the machine in the back of the lot, off the back alley. Hindsight being what it is, that turned out to be a great suggestion from them because traffic can really just roll right up to the alleyway and get right out and get their ice. I had to say that I feel that other companies would not have spent that kind of time researching that, they would’ve been more concerned with just making the sale. So yeah, Kooler Ice has been great to us. They’re there when we need them and other than that, you don’t hear about it, it’s just business as usual.”
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