Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The story of how Columbia Ice got its ice delivery truck.

A image of a cab forward ice delivery truck.
The Ice Deliver Truck
When Ernie Graveline purchased Columbia Ice from Peter Boyco the trucks used to deliver ice were in really bad shape.  Ernie, after making it through one summer driving the ice clunkers decided to purchase a 16 foot reefer box truck.  It might seem like a simple thing from the outside looking in to buy a reefer truck and it is if you have $90 000 to spend on a new one.  Call Thermo King and they will happily make you a nice pretty reefer truck to your specifications.  If you don't have 90k to toss around then used is the direction you have to go.  With Ernie already investing in building a new plant, used was the direction we chose to go.

The thing about Edmonton is even though our economy seems to be doing well, it does not have a plethora of used reefer box trucks.  Occasional you can find something on Kijiji but for the most part to get a quality used truck you have to go to Toronto or California.  The problem with buying a truck so far away from YEG is getting it to Edmonton isn't exactly easy.  The height of the truck makes it difficult to truck here, by train is too expensive and getting the company who is trying to sell the truck to deliver it is equally as expensive as the train.  This meant sending me, the Iceman of Columbia Ice to get the truck and drive it back to Edmonton.

At first after spending time perusing the web Ernie found a truck he liked in Toronto.  It had a tailgate, 16ft box with reefer and seemed to be in good shape.  The problem was the person selling the truck did not make a good impression and when you are selling a truck to a person over the phone, personality matters.  After debating whether Toronto was the right choice for Columbia Ice, Ernie went on Craigslist and found a reefer box truck in Vancouver.  Knowing the opportunity to get a reefer truck that close wouldn't come up often Ernie made an offer based on passing an independent inspection.  At this point Ernie said,"hey you, Iceman, find a flight to Vancouver cause you are going travelling.  Here is some cash for food and gas.  See you in a few days.

In a perfect world it would of been that easy.  Fly into Vancouver, get the truck and drive home.  In reality when I arrived the truck was still getting inspected.  There was the matter of insuring the vehicle and then settling on a price.  This took two days which was ok with the Iceman because Vancouver has good food and when your boss is paying, good food is much better.  Sadly all good things come to an end so after filling my belly, visiting with some family in the area, I hopped in the truck and headed for home.  If things had gone perfectly there would be no good reason to write this blog post.

The first issue I faced was I never drove a cab forward and man does it bounce when it is not loaded down. Drove out of the mechanic shop, went over one bump and it felt like I had achieved air under the tires.  Next was the fact I figured there would be a PetroCanada on the way out of Vancouver to Edmonton.  I was getting low on cash so it was vital I used the company gas card.  Sadly this was not to be as I had to use most of what cash I had left to fill the truck with diesel.  After that things were pretty smooth once I gave up trying to remember how to get to Edmonton and started using the GPS on my smart phone.  This brief period of calm was interrupted by beeping lights on my dashboard and a loss of power on some mountain road between Vancouver and Kelowna.  Luckily for me after pulling over and restarting the truck it seemed to work fine...that is until I made it to Kelowna where the truck decided it wanted to rest.  As in lose power, and not go anymore.  Again I was lucky in that it started and got me to my hotel.

The next morning when I awoke, I got on the phone and tried to find a repair shop that was open on a Saturday. There wasn't a shop that was open and I had run out of cash.  Ernie being the kind man he is told me to drop the truck off in front of a NAPA, go to the airport and he would get me a flight to Edmotnon.  It was either stay in Kelowna, in the winter with no cash or go home and visit my dogs.  Of course I flew home and then after the truck was fixed I flew back into Kelowna, hopped in the truck and drove home, arriving in time to go to a play with a friend of mine.  Two days later after we got the truck insured here the truck lost power again.  Luckily for us our ice factory is right next to PAG Automotive, best mechanic in Acheson, who waved his magic wrench and made everything better.

Since then the truck has been magic.  We have been able to deliver frozen ice, in a respectable looking truck that is bouncy and fun to drive.  The only issue left is to name our ice truck.  Was going to go with Betsy but Betsy was our old pallet jack which recently died.  That though is another story for another day.

They call me The Iceman and Ernie is the owner.  Together we are ErnieIceman in social media where we couldn't get the Columbia Ice vanity.  If you need ice in Edmonton give us a call at 780-960-7161 or email us at

The Iceman
Call for ice: 780-960-7161
Follow: @ernieiceman
Review us:  google places

Arctic Glacier buys Polar Ice.
Wedding ice Edmonton.
Want a new ice merchandiser.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Swimming in ice with Columbia Ice, Edmonton's ice company

A new fad that seems to be becoming more popular is the summer time obstacle course.  For some reason, adults young and old will actually pay money to be put through a variety of challenges which make up an obstacle course that makes the one at bootcamp seem like child's play.  I have been to bootcamp and there was no swimming in ice or playing in mud or even heavy breathing during the obstacle course in Farnham, Quebec.  Sadly it was made so the short pudgy looking guy who took the wrong turn and ended up in bootcamp instead of bandcamp could pass.

Last year was the first time we, at Columbia Ice was exposed to this type of event when a nice fellow from BC called us about bringing ice to keep beer cold at a mud and fun event at Rabbit Hill ski resort or hill or whatever you call Rabbit Hill.  This year another gentleman called for an obstacle course in Fort Saskatchewan called the "Frozen Chosen" who is taking ice to a whole new level.  As if it wasn't enough to run people through mud, sludge, hills and other things I have been sworn to secrecy about, they run contestants through a big huge bin of ice and water or water and ice depending on your preference.

image of men submersed in ice and water.
Being cool with Columbia Ice.
As you can see in the photo being in a construction bin full of water and ice is not fun.  Your body all hot and bothered from the previous obstacles screams no as you jump in and realize you are paying for the privilege of being immersed in a big bin of ice.  Lucky you because when you are out of the hospital for hypothermia you can tell your friends they may of walked over hot coals but you got to walk through a big tub of ice.  How many people can say that?  How many people can say that?  Not many so yes gents, here is a chance to make yourself sound more interesting to the opposite sex.  I say men because being female already makes women interesting to men, we don't need much more than that.  As for men, on the first date, when we are being judged on how well you can carry a conversation, swimming in a bin of ice could come in handy.

"What did you do this summer?" the beautiful lady asks.

"I swam in ice" says you sounding all impressive like a polar bear swimming in the Arctic sea where there use to be ice.

You are probably wondering if the Iceman himself will be entering the competition.. and the answer would be no.  Doctor says I already suffer from frostbite on the brain, if I suffer from anymore then I will be totally insane.

If your ice machine breaks down and you need ice give Columbia Ice a call.

The Iceman
Call for ice: 780-960-7161
Follow: @ernieiceman
Review us:  google places

We are Alberta's Ice Company | Columbia Ice
How is packaged ice packaged?
We deliver ice even in a blizzard. | Columbia Ice
Why we chose the name Columbia Ice for an ice company?