Thursday, April 26, 2012

Does local matter to liquor stores in Edmonton?

When trying to convince liquor stores in Edmonton to sell Columbia Ice's party ice, one of the selling points we use is we are a local business.  The profit we make won't be sent to Winnipeg to pay off antitrust fines like our competition.  Our revenue here at Columbia Ice will be spent on improving our infrastructure.   Sure some of it does go to the US because some stuff like ice merchandisers you can't get in Canada.  However, for the most part we are investing in growing our business in Edmonton, AB, not in the US.  We feel like this is a big distinction.  We at Columbia Ice are only interested in investing in Alberta's economy.

The reason I say comparable prices is because price does matter.  Nobody in Alberta likes the fact the money they spend at Walmart or Target is going to a US corporation.  The only reason most people in Alberta shop at those stores is because you can't beat the prices.  Large international corporations are able to offer consumers lower prices because they purchase products in large amounts.  If there was a local business that could offer the same products at the same prices most people would likely prefer to shop local.  By supporting those who exist in the same geographic area you are helping keep your local economy strong.

The reason I am asking if local matters to liquor stores in Edmonton is because often it seems like it doesn't and it makes no sense to me.  If a local liquor outlet in Edmonton is expecting people to support their local business wouldn't it just make sense to do the same thing back?  I am not even saying they should sell just our ice as there are two local ice companies in Alberta.  Either of the two would make far more sense to me.  As a consumer myself I feel much better knowing that the money I spend stays in Edmonton, helping our city and province stay strong in an increasingly unstable world economically.

That said working for a local business does make me biased so let me pose the question to you.  Does it matter to you that the products you buy are made in Alberta?

The Iceman
Call for ice: 780-960-7161
Follow: @ernieiceman

A local company has more accountability.
Paul Hawken
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Edmonton ice companies brace for summer party season.

picture of me with a hair and beard net.
Beard and hair nets a must at Columbia Ice.
Freezer space in cold storage is starting to fill up as Edmonton ice companies get ready for the summer rush.  Where there is a big outdoor party there is usually a need for ice and like the rest of the ice companies in Edmonton, Columbia Ice is getting ready to party.  When I say party I don't actually mean party because we are driving.  We bring the ice to keep the beer, cocktails and pop cold.  We just don't get to partake in any of the drinking of beverages sadly.  It is the curse of an iceman who works hard in the summer and twiddles his thumbs in the winter.

Supposedly this summer it is going to be hot which will be good for all Edmonton ice companies.  I say supposedly because we can't really predict the weather ahead of time with any real certainty because there are just too many butterflies with wings.  Too many rogue variables that we cannot account for.  That said, if it is hot then it is good for everyone.  More sun, more fun, more drinks and best of all more ice from Columbia Ice.  

Sure you might say there are other ice companies in Edmonton to choose from.  However there are not other ice companies other than Columbia Ice that have me working for them.  

The one industry in Alberta who might not like really hot weather is construction companies.  Party goers love it, construction companies that are working on paving Alberta's bridges and overpasses not so much.  If the weather is hotter than a certain temperature the concrete mixture they are pouring cures too fast causing it to be less strong.  The only solution to slowing down the curing process is to call one of of Edmonton's ice companies and hope they have a spare semi load of ice to reduce the drying process. This might seem like an easy thing to do, however in the peak of summer who has a spare truckload of ice making life fun for the paving company.  

The good news is Columbia Ice is online, on facebook, on twitter, on google + and even in that book they call the yellowpages.  We can't promise we will have a spare semi load of ice if there are a lot of parties going on, but it never hurts to ask.  

The Iceman
Call for ice: 780-960-7161

One does not leave a convivial party before closing time.
Winston Churchill
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Is it water and ice or ice and water?

picture of water going into a glass
ice and water or water and ice?
When you spend most of your day making and delivering ice you start to ponder the deeper questions in life like which comes first the water or the ice?  In terms of how you say it, water and ice seems to flow more naturally, however logic suggest ice should go in first as to not splash the water on you.   Perhaps this is one of those questions like what came first the chicken or the road where there is no answer.  Maybe we better stick to things with actual answers so we don't end spending all our time arguing what came first the ice or the water.

A better question is why do bottled water companies sell ice?  It isn't like those big blue plastic bottles can fit ice in their opening.  Most bottled water machines do not have a port for ice and if they did wouldn't it just make more sense to integrate a machine to make ice on the spot?  Where does the ice in the water and ice fit in?

In terms of Edmonton, AB, generally speaking, the ice part of water and ice is used to keep the water in the big insulated orange drink containers.  These containers are shipped to any large industrial site like a powerplant or factory during what they call a shutdown.  A shutdown is where machinery is repaired or replaced while the plant is offline.  The ice keeps the water cold, so the workers have cold water, so they don't fall down dead from dehydration.

The Iceman
Call for ice: 780-960-7161

Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.
Lao Tzu
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Monday, April 9, 2012

Ice Companies Edmonton | Columbia Ice

There are 3 ice companies in Edmonton.  Polar, Arctic Glacier and Columbia Ice where I work.  Arctic Glacier is the largest as they serve both Canada and the US.  Both Polar and ourselves are more localized, focused on the Edmonton market.  That is not to say Arctic does not serve Edmonton, just they are a large international corporation whereas Columbia Ice and Polar are privately owned Alberta Businesses.

We all sell ice tested for human consumption.  For the most part the type of ice sold, tube ice is used by all three companies.  I should say will be used by all ice companies in Edmonton because in a few weeks once our new plant is up and running we will be making tube ice, at least for most of our production.  The reason this type of ice is more popular than the square ice cubes is the industrial ice machines that make ice in large volume tend to be tube ice.  It also takes a lot less power to make tube ice which is becoming increasingly important in industry these days.  

The only differences that really matters to the ice retailer are: 
1. What is the cost per bag?  
2. Can I get a new, modern ice merchandiser with auto defrost which is a big deal for indoor locations?  
3. If it is Saturday and we run out of ice will you go to work to fill us up?  

These are the type of questions that are important to ask if you are looking at changing your current ice vendor or looking to sell ice for the first time.  I should note that in reference to the ice retailer we are talking about the small bags of party ice.  

In terms of direct to client usually, unless we are talking about large water and ice companies we would be talking about the large bags of party ice.  Again when it comes to large 25 lb bags of party ice for the most part all ice companies are the same.  If you order enough ice we will deliver it.  If you only need a couple of bags we all have partner vendors to pick the ice up from.  Again this is something you will have to call around and find out for yourself.  

I know not really an exciting day in the life of the iceman post.  Today is slow because it got cold again after getting hot.  

The Iceman
Call for ice: 780-960-7161

I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn't know how to get along without it.
Walt Disney

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