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More Travel Info:
Kennebec (Maine) Ice:
How the Humble Ice Cube
Made Business History
By Caroline Jordan  

Gather round while I tell you the story of Kennebec Ice. It's a story full of
valuable business lessons even though it happened long ago.

Once upon a time, before the invention of modern refrigeration, folks kept their
food cold by using large blocks of ice. That ice was readily available to
residents of my state, Maine.

Now, residents of Maine didn’t think too much about ice other than for their
own use. Ice was just a part of life, no big deal. During the economic
depression that followed the Civil War, ships' captains in Maine had a hard
time finding enough cargo to fill their ships.

To compensate for the lack of cargo the ship’s crew substituted large blocks of
Maine ice to act as ballast. The ice was covered with sawdust to help slow the
melting process. This need for ballast created a new market for ice.

When the ships arrived in tropics and sub-tropics, it was discovered that the ice
being used as ballast was a valuable product to the residents of those regions.
They were willing to pay for that ice. Cutting and shipping ice to other parts of
the world became an industry for Maine. This new market saw ice being
shipped to China, India, Cuba and many other places.

Now, somewhere along the way, through some clever promotion, the ice
harvested from the Kennebec River in Maine became known as “the best ice.”
Consumers thought it was higher in purity and health benefits.

There are many rivers and lakes in Maine -- all of them produce ice. There
really wasn’t much difference at the time, all the lakes and rivers were clean
enough to drink from, but the perception was that Kennebec Ice was the best.
People were willing to pay more to get it.

Because Kennebec Ice was the "best," ice companies all over the world started
referring to their ice as "Kennebec Ice" even though their ice might come from
Kansas or New York. Kennebec Ice was the gold standard for ice.

And then along came modern refrigeration. The ice industry died out and
Maine residents, who are always resourceful, moved on to other industries to
support their families.

So, here are our modern day business lessons from the story of Kennebec Ice.

1. One product can have many markets and uses, even a product as simple as
frozen water.

2. The things we take for granted may be valuable to others.

3. Becoming the gold standard increases business and allows you to charge a
higher price.

4. It’s important to protect your brand to keep it from being cheapened and
compromised by others.

5. Watch for trends that tell you it’s time to get out of the ice business and
develop new products or services.

Of course, the ice business is still alive and well in the modern world, driven
by a new industry -- tourism and recreation.

So, next time you fill your cooler,think of the humble ice cube and the proud
part it played in creating business history.

About the author: Caroline Jordan, MBA delivers icy cold business advice in a frosted
glass to self employed professionals in the desert-parched land of business ownership. For
more tips and strategies to create a successful, thirst quenching business, attract a deep
pool of customers you enjoy, increase your cash flow river, and develop additional streams
of refreshing revenue visit
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Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont