|Posted by Lilly on June 22, 2012 at 11:35 AM|
When you begin researching the idea of starting an Italian Ice business, you are likely, as I did, to Google the terms "Italian Ice Wholesalers". And you will find the top national distributors. (Be sure to visit my Wholesalers page, where I've done that work for you.) If you get really good at expanding your search terms, you may be lucky enough to find the smaller, regional suppliers. (Again, I provide some of those on my Wholesalers page.). But there are quite a number of wholesalers who simply do not show up by internet searching, and this means you have to do some real hunting and cold calling. But, it could be completely worth it if the other suppliers just don't meet your needs, either because of the ingredients they use or the distance between them and you. Here are a few ways to dig up other Italian Ice wholesalers.
Do another internet search for food distributors in your area, by city, county or state. Food distributors are middle men who warehouse food items for sale to restaurants and vendors, as well as other outlets. They bring in product, including Italian Ice and store it in their own freezers to sell to businesses like you.
Specifically look for ice cream distributors. They will very often have Italian Ice on the menu. These may not offer all the flavors that going directly to the manufacturer would, but when you want to start your business, this may be a great way. You can begin selling, while you continue searching for other suppliers of more flavors.
If you are not able to find a food/ice cream distributor that carries Italian Ice, ask if they'd consider doing so for you. This would, of course, mean that they would mark up the product that they brought in from your supplier, and you'd pay for shipping. But, again, it may be worth it, as they would store it for you in their facility, and you'd be able to get it when you needed or have it delivered. This is what business negotiations are all about. You'll have to do the numbers to see if it's a viable choice. But, the way I see it, there are always options. You just have to get creative.
Retail Italian Ice Shops & Restaurants
That local Mom & Pop Italian Ice shop or pizzeria near you gets their ice from somewhere.
Don't be afraid to ask or to negotiate. It very well may be that they have not thought to sell to street vendors as a way to increase sales, or have not thought to go mobile themselves, nor perhaps any desire to do so. You never know.
Other Italian Ice Street Vendors
Surely, you've seen other Italian Ice vendors at your local events. For many, this is where the idea is sparked to begin your own Italian Ice business. So, that vendor who is selling at your local craft fair or flea market has already tackled the problem of sourcing Italian Ice. I suggest you get chatty with them and find out as much about their business as you can. We are a very welcoming bunch, realizing that there is enough opportunity for others in this business. Perhaps they will tell you their supplier and help you get started. One way I found another Italian Ice vendor was by searching the listings on vendors in my state. You can Google "Italian Ice vendors [Your State]" or search for general concession vendors in your area. My state has a site called PAVendors.com where I found another Italian Ice seller who answered many of my questions when I was first researching.
I am sure there are many other ways to track down Italian Ice wholesalers, only limited by your imagination. Of course, you could always put a complete end to the search by making your own.