machine owner spotlight
From childhood Wilbur Justice has had a hand in the ice business, back to the days when he used to haul ice blocks from Columbus back to his hometown of Ellaville, GA
“My name is Wilbur Justice. I live here in Alabama, Georgia. Small town population of about 1,800. About five years ago I thought that I would try it to see if I could get something to supplement my social security. So I went over and talked to Tommy and he showed me through the Kooler Ice plant and bought a 510 machine. That was my first machine I bought from Kooler Ice.
I started in the ice business at an early age as a teenager. My dad had an ice house and we had 300 pound blocks of ice and it was my job to go to Dixon Ice and Foundry Company in Americus, Georgia and pick up the 300 pound blocks of ice and bring them back here to Ellaville and unload them in the ice house. So I got an early education on selling ice and that’s what kind of made me want to get into the ice machine with Kooler Ice because I had some past experience with it and liked it.
When I first thought I might get in the ice machine business from carrier Kooler Ice, I wasn’t sure. Well a person that would buy beer at one location and come to another one to buy ice. I wasn’t sure about that, but I found out that they will, if you got a better product. If you’ve got a good location that’s easy to get in and out of, well lit, then you will draw business from these other businesses.
I use more word of mouth than I do radio or TV ads because it’s a small town and I know everybody and I just promote my business every day. I have the coupons that I give to my customers that they like to have. I’ll give a free bag of ice away pretty often and that’s pretty good PR. I like to talk to the local restaurants around here and they use some of my ice and the more people you can talk to the better your business will be.
One of the best things that I like about Kooler Ice machine is they’re convenient to me and I pick up the phone and call Tommy and get advice on any problem I might have and Kooler Ice always had a replacement part to fix it with. I wasn’t down for a long period of time and so they have been real good, real cooperative to keep me in business.
Go over to Kooler Ice plant at Byron and let Matt give you a tour. You find out more about how the machine is made by walking through the factory and seeing them make it. But the best piece of advice I can give you if you are thinking about buying a new machine, I think the location is very important. To find a good location with a high traffic area. Don’t think that you can’t make it in a small town, but I think if you’ve got a good location, a good clean, well lit location that you will do well with it.”
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