After Hurricane Irma: Boynton Ice employees help keep residents cool


  

On a typical day Boynton Ice employees are out delivering to restaurants, convenience stores and bait shops. But this week Hurricane Irma has brought the store a different type of clientele: Her victims. 

Around 2 p.m., 36 percent of FPL’s 739,000 accounts were still out of power. No air conditioning. No place to keep food cold. No cold beer after a day of sweating outside from trying to get your yard back in shape. 

“Nobody has ice. It’s unbelievable,” said Palm Springs resident Keryn Piersa. “Everybody’s talking about gas and this and that.”

Piersa heard about Boynton Ice on the radio and on Wednesday made the trip to Industrial Avenue off Boynton Beach Boulevard and Interstate 95. She bought four 25-pound blocks of ice that she’ll fill her coolers with. 

“I never knew this place existed,” she said, sounding relieved.

Customers who aren’t familiar with the area, or the store, will see an “ice” sign in front of the business. 

Randy Campbell had been looking for ice for two days: “It’s impossible.”

He found Boynton Ice on the internet. He made the trip from Boca Raton, and left with three bags of cubed ice and one block. 

Benny Townend, the owner’s father, said the customers started to come last Thursday before the storm.

“I think they’re more relieved to get it. I think they’re actually glad they found it and they can go look for something else they need like gasoline or propane,” he said. 

The store has been in business for six years and employees typically make 800 bags of cubed ice per day plus blocks. 

On Monday they sold ice to a couple hundred people. Since then, maybe 100 per day. 

The blocks are more valuable, Townend said.

A 12-pound block lasts three times as long as a bag of cubes does. One block is $2.50, and so is a bag of cubes.

As for Townend, he doesn’t need to bring any ice home- he never lost power. 

How? He thinks it’s pure luck.

Before the storm he brought home the five stray cats in the area. 

“I told my wife I’m doing this for luck,” he said. 

And he had a generator set up at the store. 

They even donated some ice to those living in low-income neighborhoods.

Tony Alm from Lake Worth needed ice not to bring home because of power issues, but because he was headed out to fish.

“Nobody had ice today,” he said. “We went to three places.”

He bought six bags.


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