Crystal Schley learned that the need for ice was unmet during the hot summer and high tourist seasons in her community. By launching her business, Michigan Pure Ice, she has successfully met that need supplying packaged ice to local convenience stores, grocery stores and state parks!
In 2012, Crystal Schley worked as an executive assistant at the Indian River Chamber of Commerce. Through conversations with her business contacts, she learned that the need for ice was unmet during hot summers and high tourist seasons. She researched the industry and financial opportunity and determined the market need was large enough to sustain a new business supplying packaged cube (7 lbs. and 22 lbs.) and block ice. Her clients would be convenience stores, groceries, and state parks. In addition, she would service festivals, graduations, weddings, and other events.
Schley and her husband, Lee, solidified financing for the facility, equipment for a fully functioning ice manufacturing business, and a truck for distribution. They launched Michigan Pure Ice in early summer 2013. Response has been very positive, necessitating two large delivery trucks and a transport vehicle. The service spectrum currently includes customers throughout northern Lower Michigan. Customers appreciate same-day attention and 24/7 availability—a company advantage over the single competitor in the region. In addition, their distinctively crystal clear, round ice cubes are an attractive feature at events.
Through a referral from Northern Lakes Economic Alliance, Schley contacted Northern Initiatives in early 2013 with a business and marketing plan. Although traditional financing for this start up would have been difficult, Northern Initiatives recognized the upside and approved an initial loan for their manufacturing facility and equipment. When additional working capital was required for their first season in business, Northern Initiatives supported this need as well. Management currently identifies a pent up demand of at least 10-15 new customers and there is potential for adding new product lines to capitalize on distribution routes. Schley agrees that even after a short time in business, the future is clear for Michigan Pure Ice.
Michigan Pure Ice Impacts:
- Jobs Retained: 1 FTE
- Jobs Created: 3 FTE