machine owner spotlight
“My name is Jerry Bailey with Jerry Bailey Enterprises. Before I got in this business, I was in the portable toilet business and I retired from that.
I’ve been in sales and service all my life. I’ve done several different things. I have cattle now and a hog operation that I currently take care of. But I was in the portable toilet business for years and I wanted to get to the point in my life where I didn’t have to line out employees every day. So I sold that business, me and my partner sold it. I had seen a Twice Ice and I talked to my banker about it and we decided after pulling the figures that the rural areas that I’m in that was a little bit more money than we needed to spend. So I went to looking at different places and on different websites and found Kooler Ice and some more. But after I evaluated it, the price range, and then after I talked to these people, Jeff Dyson, Terry Seymour, Kooler Ice was the one.
I bought my first machine in 2000, which has been six years ago. It was a 510. Within a year it got where it wouldn’t keep up, so I moved it to another location and put an 810 in its place. The business outgrew the 810 so I put another icemaker on it because it will handle two, and it does well. I have six machines and they’re located in, I call them rural areas, and it is rural compared to bigger towns such as Monroe.
I have one in Columbia on Highway 165. About five miles down the road, I have Grayson and that’s where I put my 510. Then another 10 miles down on 165 is a little town called Allah. I have a 1000 there, and then in what they call Mangham, Louisiana on Highway 15 I have another 810 with two icemakers on it. In West Monroe, which is a big area, but I’m in the outskirts of West Monroe. I have one close to Duck Dynasty at the Ike Coliseum. And then I have one out on the outskirts on Road on Highway 557. They all do very well.
When I first got in this business, I run a few ads in the local papers and then I had me some signs made and some banners. I’ve always been in sales and services of some kind of all my life. I knew the location was very important, and I knew that I had to have easy-in and an easy-out access for trailers, boat trailers, log trucks. Word of mouth helps you more than anything.
If somebody calls you and they got a problem with that machine, it didn’t give them a bag of ice, they’ve got it set up where you can get on your phone, and say “Hold on, hold it. I’ll take care of it.” You send them a bag of ice. I mean it’s good and they are tickled to death. Well, they’re going to tell somebody, “Old Jerry took care of me.” You know? But if you don’t take care of them, they’ll tell 10 that he didn’t take care of you. So if I can’t do it for them by phone, I’ll get the address, or tell them to text me their address. I’ll send them a coupon or whatever, the money if I have to. Whatever makes them happy because I want them back. It’s a good business.
The favorite thing about this machine is that they make money and they’re 24/7. I mean you can go out to eat that night or you can be doing what I do, which is other things, like my cattle business. You can take a vacation if you’ve got somebody to stand in for you. But they’re steadily working for you 24/7, and you ain’t got to have an employee there taking money for you. This machine takes care of it.
All of these machines are real easy to work on. They are compact and if you’re mechanically inclined or got someone working for you that’s mechanically inclined. I knew nothing about an ice machine six years ago, but I can work on one. I was mechanically inclined enough to work on it, but then I’ve learned how it works. The loading the bags. Taking out motors. Putting in motors. Taking electric motors, your gear drives. your braking chains, whatever happens. It’s not going to be a lot of that, but it will happen and you’ve got to keep it going, especially during this time of the year in the summer. Or year round because you don’t want people driving up your machine and it not working.
I’ve got RO and water. I’ve got reverse osmosis. I’ve got water on all my machines and ice. All these, they keep the parts. They’ve got them. They can get them to you overnight. I can’t emphasize enough that from the time the switchboard answers the phone, they’re very courteous, and they will help you.
One of, if not the most, thing that really convinced me to go with Kooler Ice that I’m happy with now, was their price of the machine. It’s a good machine. After I tried the one, I liked it so well that I got another one and now, as I said, I have six. But really other than them being a good machine was their customer service. You can call Kerry Seymour. He is the president. You can call Jeff Dyson, the vice president. If they don’t answer the phone, which more likely they will if they can, but if they don’t you leave a message, they’ll call you back. That’s kind of unheard of in this world of the day.
You’ve got Tommy Rigby, very, very knowledgeable. You’ve got Cleveland Hoggs, very knowledgeable. Very good people to work with. Donnie Beeson, the distributor, I deal with a lot. He’s always there for me if I need him. The thing about them, even if it’s a Friday night, or a Saturday, or a Sunday when everybody’s shut down, they got somebody on an 800 line that’s going to answer that phone to help you. You may have a motor burn up, or something that’s not just doing right and you can’t figure it out. Well they know because they deal with this every day. Just some of the best people I’ve ever dealt with.
If someone wants to get in the ice business, if they want to work for their self, it’s a good business. It’s a 24/7 business. You’re sleeping, it’s still making money. Or you’re off on vacation, if you’ve got somebody can watch it for you, or whatever. You want to find time with your family, you can do this. They’re there all the time with no employee there that you’ve got to pay to take the money. If you’re looking for a good sideline, something to go along with your business that you’re in, or if you’re retired and want something else to do, this is the deal as far as I’m concerned.
First thing, call Kooler Ice. The next thing is research your location. Get you a good location. You’ve got to get started right, because you want to get off on the right foot. You want to make sure that everything’s in place, that Kooler knows what you need because lots of these places don’t have ice machines. That is an opportunity. This is the coming thing, ice machines. This is a good business, an investment that will pay you back. I’d say just according to what kind of location you got, but they will make you money. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
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