machine owner spotlight
A second-generation career firefighter, Kelly enjoys the call to help others while enjoying the freedom of the flexible schedule. Over the years, Kelly and his father have ventured into multiple businesses in their hometown. Most recently, they decided to buy into the ice vending business with their first Kooler Ice machine. They enjoy the additional passive income and look forward to expanding their reach in the future.
“I’m Kelly Kaiser. I’m with you here from Kansas, Oklahoma. We’re a small, rural area located east of Tulsa. We have a Kooler Ice business, Kaiser’s Kooler Ice and we run this business alongside with several businesses that we’ve built over the last 20 years. You’re here today with us, our family farm, I grew up on. We run land, cattle and have many ventures.
For profession, or my career, I’m a second-generation firefighter. My dad retired as a fire captain with the Tulsa Fire Department. We both worked together on the fire department for roughly 20 years. I’m still a fireman in Tulsa.
Over the last 20 years, we’ve took several business adventures as far as we’ve built mini-storages. We’ve built a carwash, we’ve had front-end tire shop, alignment business.
Our main career profession was the fire service, but with our fire department’s schedule we was able to take on other challenges, I guess you could say. The ice business is something we just seen as an opportunity back in roughly 2014 and started building in that area. We seen ice businesses cropping up in other communities that were larger than ours and with us being land owners, we own property within our communities that provide us the opportunity to start an ice business.
Probably what ultimately led us to Kooler Ice was when we looked at their machine, it had a lot of user-friendly characteristics about it. It was at a better price-point than some of the other machines, but yet it still met the same objective, so that’s what ultimately led us to Kooler Ice.
In 2014, when we took the step forward and invested in Kooler Ice, we rented a site here and Donnie from Texas come up and assisted us with the install, or he installed it and went over the machines with us. I’ll say as far as any time we have a question, any time we have an issue, a concern or a problem that Tommy and Cleveland, they’ve been great as far as being able to get ahold of them. If we can’t get ahold of them, they call us back in a pretty quick manner and are pretty informative as far as what we’re seeing or what we’re encountering in helpful in getting the issues resolved and getting the ice business back up and running as quickly as possible.
Over the last three years, we’ve seen pretty steady growth. I mean maybe 10, 15% a year growth. Obviously we hope to continue to grow, but we’ve had real good success as far as finding out. While the machine manages itself to most degree, we figured out how to get maximum efficiency for your holiday weekends and your high-use areas. There is a learning curve of what to do and what not to do. We’ve been very fortunate and blessed.
After having businesses in this community for the last 20 years, or a little over 20 years, we have experienced the best advertisement in a small community is your word of mouth. We haven’t done a lot as far as marketing. We would hand out some of the coupons and get people to try the ice machine, but we found that it quickly grew and it got everybody’s attention and they started trying it. We found in business that if you offer a quality product that people will continue to come and they’ll tell other people and they’ll come try it, and just important things like keeping your filters clean, keeping your water soft and making crystal clear ice for them brings people coming back. We’ve had the best success, which is community talk about the business.
We’ve had a good experience with Kooler Ice, in the sense that we received plenty of support. When we had questions we could get information from the company. One of the best features we probably like about the machine is the Ice Talk and how it communicates with us via something as simple as our iPhone or your smartphone and communicates to us. We can look at it, we can see what the machine’s doing. We can see if the machine has any needs. If the machine has an issue, it sends us a text, sends us an email, that’s a very user-friendly function that’s available and we enjoy using it.
If I was going to give one piece of advice, it would be: location, location, location. You can have the right business in the wrong location and it’ll never be successful. I believe the ice business is all about the right location. If you’ve got that location, you will have success.
We’re very excited about the ice business. We’ve had good success. We hope the business continues to grow, and believe it will continue to grow. We’ve been very happy with Kooler Ice. Kooler Ice, we appreciate the support they give. What we’ve seen from when we bought our machine in 2014 to now where we figure out how to improve our service to our customers, it appears that Kooler Ice is always trying to improve their machines and provide a better product to us as the end-user.”
WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY