Ice House America rolled its 2,000th ice machine off the line this year, and with increasing foreign sales the homegrown company is looking to make more of the world a cooler place.
The company, in operation since 2004 at the former Ball Metal Container Corp. building on U.S. Hwy. 319 South, took four years to complete the 1,000th machine.
Since that time the company has expanded on the first machine, produced by Donald Dalton and Lavon Stripling using farm equipment. They sold the company, which now offers five models, the House, Hut, Mini, Mini XL and Mobile.
Some models dispense both bagged ice and loose ice for filling coolers, while a newer model dispenses bags in 10- and 16-pound sizes.
Ice House has been a solid company in Colquitt County and its growth has been good for the area, said Darrell Moore, president of Moultrie-Colquitt County Development Authority.
“I think that’s great,” he said of the production of the 2,000th machine. “The sales have continued. It’s certainly a testament to them to continue to sell machines in this economy. They’ve continued to grow and make what the market wants and needs.”
The company employs 63 at the 170,000 square foot facility, nearly all of which is used for production, said Doug Lightsey, quality assurance/operational support specialist with Ice House.
Counting the machines already produced the company has 2,053 orders to date, he said.
“We are international,” Lightsey said. “We currently have active and pending orders dealerships in the Caribbean, Australia, Brazil and Nigeria,” he said. “We’re actually in the process of sending another one to South Africa.”
The company, based in Jacksonville, Fla., also has dealerships in 26 U.S. states. All machine production is done in Moultrie.
The machines are basically large vending machines, varying in size depending on model, in which customers put change or bills and receive ice. A new feature is a slot for accepting credit and debit cards.
Lightsey said the company hopes to complete another 1,000 machines in about three years, “maybe sooner. We hope to have enough business so we have to hire more people. We hope they (sales) get that good.”