Easy Ice in Michigan’s U.P. Secures Cool Investment

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Headquartered in the Upper Peninsula, Easy Ice has secured $20 million to support equipment expansion this year, the Gwinn-based firm announced Tuesday. The company, which provides ice machines for businesses, says the added equipment will support new business opportunities.

“As we bring on new customers, we have a lot of expenses up front,” says John Mahlmeister, chief marketing officer and co-founder of Easy Ice, which offers ice machines for rent, and provides repairs, maintenance, water filters, cleaning, and replacement ice. “That’s part of the benefit for customers since they don’t have to spend (that money on a new machine).”

The company — which was founded in 2009 and has a staff of 24 — has nearly 5,000 clients in 44 states and plans to add 2,000 to 3,000 more this year.

Mahlmeister says Easy Ice has seen a slight increase in service calls as a result of frigid weather across many parts of the country. “Any extreme temperatures cause trouble for ice machines, whether it’s hot or cold. But it’s (more) taxing on older machine. Because our machines are not old, and because they’re well maintained, we tend not to have those troubles.”

A large chunk of the investment, $12 million, was provided by Saratoga Investment Corp. in New York.

“We are very excited about the direction of this company,” says Charles Phillips, managing director of Saratoga Investment Corp. “It is rare to find a profitable company of this size with significant growth potential in a market that is mature.”

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