This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.
I have never really thought about what goes into producing those bags of ice that we buy at grocery and convenience stores. I simply grab the bags, pay the cashier and am on my way. Well, I received a very interesting education about how that ice is produced when I visited with Bart Haslem and Scott Hardman at the Igloo Ice Company in Vernal.
Scott took me into the manufacturing section of the plant and I marveled at the technology and fascinating machinery used to produce the ice. Scott has a background in automation and engineering, and he automated the equipment in the plant. I watched the entire process, from the water being pumped into the machinery and the cubes or blocks being formed, then into the freezing process, the bagging and the delivery. The plant has the capability of producing up to 5,000 bags a day!
That is a far cry from the 300 bags a day that the plant produced in 1999 when Bart bought the business. Back then, there were five part-time employees and it was a very small operation. Today, practically every retail business in Uintah, Daggett and Duchesne counties are customers of Igloo Ice. The company's 35 employees pride themselves on the high quality of ice they produce. Igloo is particularly noted for its block ice. While most competitors use scrap ice to form their block commodities, Igloo uses special molds to make the 11-pound blocks and it is the best ice you can buy. The company sells about 250 blocks each day. Still the most popular item, by far, is the bagged ice cubes. The company also does a good business with the shaved ice stands that you see so often during the summer months.
The ice business is seasonal. The summer months account for a huge percentage of Igloo Ice's revenue. Bart and Scott needed a business model that would keep their crew busy all year long. So, they established H. & H. Versatile Services, a satellite business that provides landscaping and truck transportation service to the Uintah Basin business and in the process, provides work year-round for their employees.
For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.