Hot weather cooks up business for ice company

By: Kevin Lewis Email
By: Kevin Lewis Email

The heat wave continued Wednesday as Michiana endured its fifth consecutive day with highs above 90 degrees.

While most people tried to recover from exhaustion, a handful of local businesses broke a sweat to try and bring people relief.

No business may have worked harder than the commercial ice industry which typically freezes in the wintertime only to heat-up during the summer months.

A cold and rainy spring followed by a mild June didn't set the stage for a profitable year. However, once July came into the mix, the financial outlook has all since changed.

City's Pure Ice in LaPorte County is no exception. It had long been frozen with a stockpile of goods, only recently did it become liquid with cash.

"That’s what we're in business for. We’re looking for the hot humid days. This is where we prosper, we're able to put money back into the company and it keeps us going,” owner Bud Lies said.

In the ice industry, business typically peaks on the Forth of July, this year it’s lasted a lot longer.

"Today we’ve made fifty tons of ice! We haven't had a summer like this is five years,” Lies added.

Hundreds of ice blocks measuring seven feet long and three feet wide are dropped into an over sized holding bin. They're then chopped and cut into abstract cubes before being packaged and shipped out in 22 lb. bags at what can best be described as a mile a minute.

"We’re so busy that my granddaughter came up from Indianapolis to see me. I had a wonderful half-hour visit and then had to get back to work,” Lied said with a laugh.

After all, in this business it's good to be cold, that is unless your production line is frozen in time.

City's Pure Ice isn't the only business cashing in on the heat.

Last week, Lowe’s Home Improvement in Mishawaka had 90 air conditioning units; they're now done to one. Meanwhile, The Home Depot store in Benton Harbor is completely sold out of its air conditioners.

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