machine owner spotlight
Pine Mountain, Georgia
Owner of Boyd Trucking and founder of Big Game Butter, Sean Boyd started out in the ice business at a very young age, bagging ice for his family’s convenience store.
“I’m Sean Boyd and I run a company called Big Game Butter. We make hunting attractants for deer hunters and for hog hunters. We’ve been in business three years now. This will be our fourth season coming up, and we are in 1,200 retail locations in 30 states. We have a great time doing what we do.
When I was a kid, my family ran a convenience store, and one of my jobs was bagging ice back then. We had an ice machine years ago, and so I probably hold the record of most ice bagged by a human being ever. I did that for years and years and years, bagged ice by hand for our family convenience store. We had sold the convenience store, leased the building out, but still operated the shopping center. As much as anything, we always try with our shopping center there to do things that will be a good draw for the whole shopping center, things that’ll benefit the shopping center, draw traffic, and we didn’t have an ice vending machine in our community.
I did some research, basically did a lot of online research, used a number of machines when I was out and about at different places. I spend a lot of time on the road, so I got to try probably everybody’s options out there, at least in the eastern half of the United States, and just got to looking at specific machines, specific companies, and saw Kooler Ice in a number of places, liked the machines, liked the look of the machines, and began to dig around online, talk with a few different companies, and just really liked the staff at Kooler Ice that we talked to. They were helpful with the questions that we had. We already had a location so we didn’t have any problem with site selection. We just wanted to find something that would be a workable solution for us.
We’ve had the machine a little over two years now, and first season in, it was a great process. It was very easy. I met with our salesman a couple of times and we knew what we needed to do, got the machine ordered. Delivery was right on time. The folks came over to set up. It was Mike if I remember right, and was very helpful and got it done, everything. I mean, any questions we had, walked through the machine with us well. When he left, we felt like we knew exactly what we needed to do to take care of the machine and to operate it. The couple of times we’ve had a service need, it’s always been very quickly taken care of. We haven’t had any issue that’s been a lingering issue at all. It’s just been basic maintenance, and so that’s another plus for us is that we don’t have a lot of trouble with the machine.
But we’ve seen our revenue grow consistently through the last 20, what, seven, eight months that we’ve had the machine now. This year, like I said, we’re going into our third year with the machine. We’re doing twice the volume on a weekday that we did this time even last year. We’ve grown that much. People are familiar with the machine now.
Marketing-wise, we don’t do a lot of heavy advertising for the machine. One of the things we did do at the beginning is the ice voucher coupons. We took those around to some area businesses and friends and just said, “Hey, we’ve got a new ice machine down on the corner. We’d love you to come try it out, so here’s a bag of ice on us.” And so people are familiar with it. They see it. We’re in a visible location so that helps us some, but we really made the effort just to get people to be aware that there is an ice machine here in town, and yeah, we’re really excited to see what the rest of this summer is going to be like.
My favorite thing about the Kooler Ice machine I would have to say is probably the app that I use on my iPhone. I mean, the machine’s great. It works great. It’s very low maintenance. It takes us very little time weekly to attend to the machine, but having the app is just fantastic. The very few times that we have an issue, a vend issue, a customer comes up and they tried to use the machine, and for some reason they don’t get their bag, so they call our number on the front. I answer the phone and they say, “Hey, I put my $2 in, I didn’t get a bag of ice,” and I say, “Hold on just a second, I’m going to fix that for you. I’ll call you right back in about 45 seconds.” I hit the Free Vend on my app. 95% of the time, it solves the problem. We very seldom have to physically come to the machine to solve an issue where it didn’t vend for a customer.
Kooler Ice is a company I’ve found to be very responsive all the way through the sales process. Our salesman was easy to reach. As far as service goes, it’s always been easy to schedule any of the routine service, but the couple of times we’ve had an issue where we had something come up with the machine that had to be repaired, we had a quick response time and anytime we’ve had an issue, it’s been taken care of. So there’s a lot of peace of mind knowing that we don’t just own something that we’ve got to handle whatever comes up with. There’s plenty of user serviceable stuff if we wanted to, but we also know that if any real issue comes up, we’ve got somebody we can call and it’ll get done quickly.
I would say definitely go with the Kooler Ice brand. There’s no doubt about it. I mean, we looked at all the machines out there and definitely felt this was the right choice, and after having it in here a little over two years, we still feel the same way. We think it was definitely the right choice. Try out everything, go look at them, but make sure you talk to the owners to see what downtime is like, see what kind of issues they’re having, see how pleased they are with the machine. Seek out a few folks that have a Kooler Ice machine. We’ve been super pleased with ours.”
WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY