In June, IceBorn announced it had been chosen by U.S. Veterans Magazine for its “Top Veteran Friendly Franchise” list. Its parent company, Ice House America, says packaged ice is a $4 billion industry, a number IHA hopes to push its count of 2,800 locations higher with an expansion out of the southeast.

Now Colorado Springs business partners Kevin Heinicke and Justin Chaston have opened IceBorn’s first machine in the area, on the southeast corner of North Powers Boulevard and Omaha Boulevard. It’s 24 feet long and dispenses 10- or 20-pound bags of ice in seconds.

“We’re looking at a new model for the Springs that can deliver something that we believe everyone’s looking for,” says Heinicke.

In a phone interview with the Report, the pair say the ice is low-priced, faster and better than buying from a store.

“We can sell ice for a lot cheaper, since we don’t have transportation costs,” says Heinicke. The vending machine charges $1.75 for 10 pounds of ice and $3 for 20 pounds. “You just drive up to the machine, you get out of your car, you put in your money or credit card, and eight seconds later, you have a bag of ice.”

A franchise can be had for an initial investment of between $18,995 to $130,000, the company says, with IHA waiving 50 percent of the startup fee and the first year of royalties to veterans who qualify.

“People do become connoisseurs of ice,” says Chaston. “[Ice Born’s ice] is never touched by humans and it’s never transported, so it never melts and freezes again. … If you’re buying ice every day, and it’s a big cost year round, you buy ice from us.”

[Image: Courtesy Kevin Heinicke and Justin Chaston]