Tucson Citizen from Tucson, Arizona on June 3, 1996 · 40
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Tucson Citizen from Tucson, Arizona · 40

Tucson, Arizona
Issue Date:
Monday, June 3, 1996
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6 Tucson Citizen Monday June 3 1996 lrTSta fffg-wT-n eegee's expects to top $11 mkn in sales flis year - and a growing percentage is coning tram places other tian the sale of sandwiches and slushes at 16 eegee's stores The company employs about 400 people Here are the areas where ownere Robert Greenberg and Ed kwng are planning to expand eegee’s CATERING “Last year we (id $250000 in catering" i j Irving said “We expect to double that this year” The company caters school and institutional lunches and the occasional “weddng and bar mflzvah" Irving said eegee's has already landed one big account this year the Centurions annual fundraising casino right “We fed 5000 people in three hours” said eegee's Assistant Director Tony Dilo eegee’s also provided 60000 servings for graduation parties this year he said Hoiday parties also have proved to be exceient catering opportunities “Christmas used to be so depressing" Irving sad “Now it’s one of our busiest times of year" WHOLESALE BAKING The new bakery has two giant ovens that can bake 600 cookies or 120 loaves of bread in an hour R has a $20000 blender that can mix 360 pounds of dough at one time and a new $10000 machine that twists the dough — — — — - into afferent shapes DUto said he is ready to provide bread A new machine at ee rols and cookies to local restaurants and ho- fills a container with tets And eegee's is one step ahead of many start-up institutional bakeries: “We have our own detribution system already in place" Irving sail MORE RESTAURANTS “We didn’t bu8d any restaurants last year because we were concentrating on the commissary’’ Irving said “We are actively looking for locations" Prime possibilities: the Northwest and far East sides “Judging from sales there we know we're underrepresented" he said CONCESSIONS The concession business which eegee's recently entered accounts for a fairly smal part of revenues eegee’s runs the concession stand at Justin’s Water Wort! ft is interested in running concessions elsewhere such as at Kino Sports Park which is across the street from its new commissary ADDITIONAL OUTLETS Recently Grandma Tony’s another Tucson-grown restaurant began carrying eegee's slushes That gives the restaurant a idle something extra Instead of pizza aid soda which nearly every pizza parlor offers - with varying pizza quaity of course - Grandma Tony's deivers pizzas and eegees That’s the kind of partnership Greenberg and Irving would ike to see more of FROZEN NOVELTIES The company is experimenting with squeeze-up or push-up pops made of hard-frozen eegees This idea hasn't gotten past the “wouktnlHt-be-great-ft” stage but Irving said he sees potential i eegee’s to quench summer thirst Continued from 1 12 older machines were pumping out eegees seven days a week 24 hours a day to keep up with demand The new machine operates five days a week 10 hows a day A couple of weeks ago that demand was about 2000 gallons a day - and “A lot more this week” as temperatures rose said Tony DeLillo assistant director and head of the new commissary That excess capacity leaves room for growth Irving said The longer he works in the new commissary the more Irving is sure that building it Was file right move at the right time For instance the plant’s cooling system uses ammonia instead of ozone-eating chlorofluorocarbons The system is powered by two giant energy-efficient compressors vs 20 smaller ones in the company’s previous digs Irving illustrated the savings: "In our old place our utility bills were about $10000 a month Here we’ve not been able to break $6000 - even though we are bigger and producing more This savings alone make this building worthwhile We’ve tripled our capacity and saved money” Greenberg and Irving have come a long way since they started the company here in 1971 The two who have known each other since they were tots began the business from the back of a truck Within five years sales had JiitStmiUioo i X VALCANEZTucaonCitizan lee’s commissary makes eegees faster and smoother Here Augustine Duran )range Dream Which is being pumped out at about 200 gallons per hour Here’s how pervasive eegee’s influence has become in Tucson: Some of 3-year-old Matthew Trouard’s first words were “mommy” “daddy” and “eegee" according to his mom Margaret Trouard Making eegee’s a household name elsewhere proved difficult The 1984 expansion into Phoenix with six stores built over two years and five years’ worth of losses burned the dynamic duo badly But they also learned a lot “We violated the Peachin list for success” Irving said The list is named after eegee’s longtime accountant David Peachin of Peachin & Peto Irving went down the list and recounted their failings: 1 Have a good product “By the time it got to Phoenix -it was all made here and shipped up there - it wasn’t as good as in Tucson” 2 Actively market that product “The cost of marketing in Phoenix was four times that in Tucson We didn’t plan for that” 3 Hire and train the best people available “We didn’t send up the first team” Irving acknowledged Neither he nor Greenberg wanted to move to Phoenix to oversee the operations 4 Be aware of your bottom line “We way way way underestimated our costs in Phoenix” Ir- Because they violated the rules “We got spanked” Irving said “We lost conservatively S3 million t - They closed their Phoenix stores in 1989 and last month made the final payment on the debacle But file Phoenix experience primed them for gryWth here primarily because it made Greenberg and Irving define their roles within the company “Until Phoenix we were a two-headed monster” Irving said “We micromanaged everything Phoenix demanded that we get more efficient” Greenberg now handles the financial aspects including leases taxes and insurance Irving is in charge of production which includes file stores training and file commissary While the new commissary has eased the space crunch for food storage and preparation eegee’s small stores prevent the company from selling more than four eegee flavors at a time Stores sell the three standards -lemon strawberry and pina colada - plus a flavor of the month Some flavors of the month prove to be quite popular such as May’s Orange Dream “I just got off the phone with a woman who was begging me to make Orange Dream a regular flavor” DiLillo said Because of the lack of space and the relatively high cost of making small batches of special flavors fillfilling that woman’s request is not likely -yet “Maybe someday” Irving said “we can build a store that will have ?iy flavor” So you've grown up with eegee’s and ft you know just about al foere is to know about foe home-grown restaurant chain? Testyousef 1 Name foe orignal flavor 1 Name tie tree orijjnal standard flavors 1 Name toe two eegee flavors that appeared only once 4 Where was tie original eegee’s location? 5 What does "eegee’’ stand tor? 6 What is the most popular flavor? 7 What was tie "Grinder originaly caled? 8 eegee’s took on Cfly Hal over what issue? i 9 What was tie original eegee's slogan? 10 Who is tie eegee’s mascot? Answers: 1 Lemon 2 Lemon orange and strawbeny Pina colada replaced orange 3 Btoe Hawai a blue mint slush with chocolate chips and coconut shavings and Chocolate Sensation which tasted a lot Bee a slushy Yoohpo udfirio Wh8e the pubfc Kerned them bad Ed Irving eegee’s co-founder and president insists that people here simply weren’t ready for such radteal flavors Who knows? They may make a repeat performance someday 4 5521 E Speedway just east of North Craycroft Roal in a smal storefront on the north side of foe street 5 The most popular story is foe “e” comes from Ed as in Ed Irving and “g" from Greenberg as in Bob Greenberg But that’s wrong The “g” comes from “Grimes” Greenberg’s nickname is tty school 6 Strawbeny 7 An flaflan grinder 8 Foam cups The City (found in an environmental frenzy tried to ban foam cups citywide Greenberg and Irving convinced counci members foe cups were envionmentafly safe and corid be recycled into other products induting furniture 9 “Make mine an eegee's” 10 Cap’g eegee " it -

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