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Ice Biz Headaches: Bandits and Overtime

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Some customers were appreciative, others were nasty. At one point on Saturday, one of his truck drivers became the victim of a “rolling roadblock” while heading up U.S. Route 60 toward New Kent County. A group of cars surrounded the truck on the highway and forced the driver to pull over. It was a scene straight out of Mad Max.

“They said, ‘Either you sell us this ice or we’re going to beat the crap out of you,’” Resnick says. The driver pulled over, sold them the ice — 325 bags — and afterward even got ticketed for improper parking on the side of the road. This was what Isabel had done.

“I don’t think they were evil people,” Resnick says. “They paid for it. At least they were honest.”

When he wasn’t battling ice bandits, Resnick worked closely with the state Department of Emergency Management, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Virginia Department of Transportation. He even set up two phones for his own makeshift emergency center, where his staff fielded thousands of calls.

City Ice wasn’t able to begin manufacturing ice until two days after Isabel hit, on Saturday, and by the end of the first day the company sold out of ice. So workers made and bagged it as fast as they could, stacked the ice on pallets and sold it to customers for $1 a bag. This is the purest ice around. Resnick doesn’t cut corners. He removes the heat from the water, which freezes first at the center. The purest of water freezes first, he says, and the impurities are filtered out and discarded.

His company stopped selling ice to drive-up customers on Tuesday, but the demand didn’t subside — even slightly — until midday Friday. The freezer was filled with several pallets of ice, some shipped from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

“We’ve never experienced anything like this,” Resnick says. “It’s beyond words.” — Scott Bass

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