SALUTE TO INDUSTRY: Mr. Ice keeping Chambers County cool

Published 8:30 am Saturday, January 27, 2024

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In the heat of the summer, most people are out on the lake and enjoying time with their families. That same heat results in the booming season for Mr. Ice, a company that has been serving Chambers County for nearly 45 years.

Michael Givorns founded Mr. Ice in 1979. The company was originally making up to two and a half tons of cubed ice daily, but since then it has grown to become one of the top ice producers in the south.

Givorns’ son, Mike Givorns, has now taken over as the head of the company, but he has always been involved in the process. Throughout the early years of his childhood, Mike Givorns was at Mr. Ice stacking and loading ice for the community.

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“I grew up in it,” Givorns said. “I was doing that whenever I was eight and nine years old.”

Mike Givorns took over the company in 2004, and since then the company has seen an expansion throughout the surrounding states and a revenue growth of over 700%.

Mr. Ice has grown as a company, and they are continuing to improve the process. Mr. Ice is currently working on renovations and new machines that will allow the company to produce around 50,000 seven-pound bags of ice per day.

The improvements are also going to allow for a better quality of life for the employees. In the past, the plant was running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For all but four of those hours, employees were in the factory manning the machines.

The new improvements to the factory will allow employees to just work 10 hours per day and have the rest of the day to spend with their families.

“The improvements that we’re making is that they’ll come into work a 10-hour shift and go home because we’ll have the capacity to store the bigger storage bins, and we’ll have a faster way of processing it and getting it out,” Givorns said.

Without a doubt, if you have been in Chambers County, you have seen Mr. Ice’s ice boxes around town at local grocery stores and other parts of the community. The company services around 700 stores.

Mr. Ice has become more mobile and able to put ice boxes at new construction sites in the area and convenience stores. However, the business has expanded to be much more than just those ice boxes.

Last year, Mr. Ice was named Manufacturer of the Year by the Industrial Development Authority in Chambers County, and Mr. Ice is Department of Defense certified, which makes them one of the few companies that can sell ice to the Department of Defense.

Mr. Ice has also grown to become a producer of ice throughout the state of Alabama and in neighboring states. Mr. Ice has also added rental trailers to the business that people in the community can rent, and the company has now grown to service concerts and events in Panama City and Cullman.

Beyond being just a company that provides a necessary service for Alabama and surrounding states, Mr. Ice is also a company focused on helping those in need around the area. Locally, Mr. Ice has made a habit of giving away ice to local sports teams and companies in need.

“If you can’t take care of home, you can’t take care of nowhere else,” Givorns said.

Since the beginning of the company, Mr. Ice has also been involved with disaster relief projects across the United States.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, the company was more than happy to deliver trailer loads of ice to communities that were affected by the storm. Mr. Ice also sent loads of ice to communities in Florida that were impacted by Hurricane Idalia last year.

“I guess the rewarding side of it is when we give tractor-trailer loads of ice away [after] hurricanes and things like, that is to go there and see somebody cry and be so appreciative for a bag of ice,” Givorns said.

“Just to give them some cold water, just anything. I guess that is the rewarding side of it.”

Mr. Ice currently has around 18 employees, with just about all of them being local citizens besides the employees who work for Mr. Ice in Montgomery. During the summer, Mr. Ice hires part-time employees to help work on the delivery trucks.

Like most companies in the area, Mr. Ice has battled with issues with the workforce. Loading heavy bags of ice all day can be labor-intensive, and Mr. Ice has to look for employees with a great work ethic.

“Today it’s when people want to work,” Givorns said.

“It’s demanding. It’s hard because when everyone else is out having fun on the lake, we’re at work. That’s always our busy time. When people are out doing things, that’s when we’re in demand.”

Today, Givorns is focused on expanding to more areas and service more stores across the southern part of the United States. Within the coming years, Givorns hopes to have ice boxes all across Alabama, and Florida, and expand to different locations in South Georgia.