Clouds and sun
69°
Clouds and sun
Hi 81° | Lo 58°

Coolest summer job in town

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Todd Richardson of Gill moves pallets of five pound bags of ice at Summit Ice in the Greenfield Industrial Park on swelting hot day on Thursday.

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Todd Richardson of Gill moves pallets of five pound bags of ice at Summit Ice in the Greenfield Industrial Park on swelting hot day on Thursday.

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Todd Richardson of Gill moves pallets of five pound bags of ice at Summit Ice in the Greenfield Industrial Park on swelting hot day on Thursday.

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Todd Richardson of Gill moves pallets of five pound bags of ice at Summit Ice in the Greenfield Industrial Park on swelting hot day on Thursday.

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Todd Richardson of Gill moves pallets of five pound bags of ice at Summit Ice in the Greenfield Industrial Park on swelting hot day on Thursday.
  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Todd Richardson of Gill moves pallets of five pound bags of ice at Summit Ice in the Greenfield Industrial Park on swelting hot day on Thursday.

GREENFIELD — While most people throughout the county spent Thursday in loose, light-colored clothing or bathing suits, running under sprinklers or swimming in backyard pools, Todd Richardson was dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt and wore heavy gloves.

He had to take outdoor breaks to warm up.

“The hardest part for me is after I get out of work in the afternoon,” said Richardson, who works at Summit Ice Inc. on Silvio O. Conte Drive in the Interstate 91 Industrial Park. “In the morning, I leave the house dressed like that and it’s still cool enough so it’s not bad, but when I leave here to go home in the afternoon, especially this week, it’s a killer.”

Richardson spent most of the day on Thursday bagging ice in a room that never got above 40 degrees and storing it in a freezer set at a temperature of 15 degrees.

“It’s a great place to work on a hot summer day,” said Adam Provost, the company’s sales manager. “Some employees actually go out to the dock to get warmed up if they’re working in the freezer or one of the cooler rooms all day.”

Summit Ice sells cubed and block ice to retailers, and also distributes dry ice for manufacturers.

In 2010, it added sculpted ice to its product line and sells sculptures directly to the public for parties, weddings and other occasions. It contracts with an ice sculptor, who sculpts in one of Summit’s colder rooms, dressed in a snowsuit in the middle of summer.

Provost said Summit Ice sold the ice to sculptors who created the sculptures for this past winter’s Greenfield Winter Carnival display along Main Street.

“Not only is it a cool job,” said Provost with a snicker, “ but we’re helping other people stay cool” on days like Thursday when local temperatures ranged into the mid-90s.

Summit Ice, which employs seven throughout the year and doubles or triples that number during the summer, was created when Greenfield native Marcus Stetson bought the former Rice Oil’s ice division in 2008. He moved the company from Montague City to the industrial park a couple of years later so that he could expand it into the 10,000-square-foot building Summit occupies now on 6.5 acres.

Provost said the company sells ice throughout the county and beyond.

“We go as far as northern Connecticut, southern Vermont and New Hampshire, Gardner and all the way through western Massachusetts to the New York border,” he said.

He said Summit sells 11-pound blocks that many use when camping or to put at the bottom of coolers. He said the company sells ice to retailers that sell it by the bag.

He said Summit also supplies construction sites with ice.

Provost said Summit only manufactures wet ice. He said it distributes dry ice for a manufacturer located in Palmer.

“Bertha,” the company’s new ice-making machine, does a lot of the work for Summit and its employees.

Provost said water runs through the machine and is frozen in tubes and then cut into “cubes.” The ice is then transported to another room, with a temperature of about 40 degrees, by conveyor belt and is bagged by another machine with the help of a Summit employee — on Thursday that was Richardson.

Summit sells 5-, 20- and 35-pound bags of ice cubes, as well as blocks.

Provost said the company freezes the largest blocks, which are used for sculpting, with the help of a pump so that they are “crystal clear.”

“We manufacture and sell ice all year long, but it’s the four months of the summer that are our biggest months,” said Provost. “We sell tons and tons and tons of ice.”

Provost said he did not want to disclose just how many tons the company makes and sells.

“I think this is the time of year when our employees are really glad they have a job like this,” said Provost. “One of them told me he was, because he said he could be outside with a shovel or rake in his hand in this weather.”

Richardson said sometimes he actually gets too cold but doesn’t complain because he knows at the end of a 95-degree day, with a heat index of more than 100 degrees, it’ll be more than 12 hours before he gets to go back to the coolest place in town.

The National Weather Service in Taunton forecasts temperatures to remain in the 90s today, with the heat index staying the same as it has all week, right around 100 degrees or more. On Sunday, the temperature should drop to 81 degrees.

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.