machine owner spotlight
Valerie and her husband own I-Cubed LLC which currently consists of one IM2500. Valerie has been involved in hotel management for over 20 years, but has always wanted to create a supplemental income to help support her children’s college tuition. Both her and husband travel a lot so they like the convenience of being able to attend to the machine remotely. She once dispensed a free bag of ice for a customer while she was in China!
“My name is Valerie Cowen. My husband and I own I-Cubed in Chatham, Illinois. It is our first business. It’s an ice vending. I managed hotels for over 20 years on both limited and full service. I now am in association management for an association of hotel owners. I office here at home. I do travel quite a bit. Kooler Ice has worked well for me in that regard in that I can do a lot of managing it from my phone. I’ve actually dispensed ice from China as recently as a couple months ago.
My husband works full time outside the home and we’re still able to manage the ice business efficiently, effectively, and maintain our other full time jobs. One of the reasons that we decided to get into the ice vending business is to hopefully help provide income for tuition for our two children. My son, Zander is 15, he’s going to be a junior in high school and my daughter Maisie is almost 13, going into seventh grade, and they both help extensively in running the business.
One of my favorite aspects of the Kooler Ice machine is that as a family we do travel a lot and I’m able to manage the business, track the sales, dispense ice if I need to, for free from my phone anywhere in the world.
My husband and I had been looking at investing into our own business for quite a while. In researching the ice vending business and just the vending business in general, of course we started online and looked at the information that was available there. Also saw the machines, felt the machines, looked inside the machines, and ultimately landed with Kooler Ice.
We felt that it would be cheaper to operate being single phase electric rather than triple phase. Also the profile of the machine, even the large machine, was smaller, which makes it more portable. We do not own the land that our machine is on, so if we ever have to move it, it will be easier and more cost effective to move.
We also really liked the app that allows us to manage our business effectively. The customer support aspect has been really great as far as any help we’ve needed with service or graphic design, everything has been fantastic as far as that goes.
Once we decided to go with Kooler Ice, the sales process and the installation process went so smooth. It was definitely people that knew what they were doing and had done it before. Machine came right off the truck, slid right in, and we had our first sale the very next day. They’ve been trending upward every month and even through the winter we did a little bit more than we expected and having just passed our one year mark are really looking forward to the next year, and the years to come.
We use Facebook a lot. We pay, we boost posts. We’ve made several videos, simple videos, just on how to use the machine because some people are very intimidated by it and don’t realize that it’s really just a vending machine. Facebook is a very good avenue to market.
Also when we first opened, we did a direct mail to every door through the United States postal service in our community of 10,000. That was an idea from the marketing department at Kooler Ice and that worked very well to get people to our machine the first time and get over their fear or trepidation of the unknown.
One of our favorite things about owning our Kooler Ice machine is how involved we’ve been able to become in our community. We sponsor a local softball team. We are members of our local chamber. We’ve got to meet a lot of great people, our neighbors, and people we never would have met otherwise.
One piece of advice I would have for somebody looking to get into the ice machine business is just to be prepared, although it is a fairly low investment business opportunity comparative to many others still to make sure you have enough money for some of the site prep and marketing so that your business can really take off to the fullest potential.
We are so happy that we chose Kooler Ice. We love being in the ice vending business and we plan on purchasing as many more machines as the bank will finance for us.”
WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY