Elbert's Ice Co. is one cool job

Chris Gustafson drives the zamboni on the ice rink at Capital Clubhouse in Waldorf. - Credit: Staff photo by EMILY BARNES

<br> <P> Temperatures are soaring into the 90s this week and while most have to endure the summer heat, some businesses are staying cool.<P> At Elbert's Ice Co. in Waldorf, they make 40 tons of ice a day, said Paul Elbert, owner.<P> "We have a 40-ton machine &hellip; by Turbo Ice Company," he said, adding that the machine makes 35 eight-pound bags per minute. The ice is stored in a bin, or large freezer, that's kept at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.<P> "Sometimes when a man with a beard, like myself, goes in there we will come out looking like snowmen," Elbert said.<P> Staff members go in the freezer multiple times a day for anywhere between 15 minutes to 45 minutes at a time.<P> Elbert's supplies the majority of major sport teams in the area like the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field, the Nationals and the DC United soccer team.<P> "We also provided ice for the inauguration at the convention center," he said. "We were the last ones to leave the room that [President] Obama was in before it closed down for security purposes."<P> Elbert started distributing ice in 2001 and manufacturing in 2005.<P> "Manufacturing ice started during the Civil War when the north wouldn't sell to the south," he said.<P> Prior to oil, the ice industry was the biggest employer in the country and the commodity with the largest value, Elbert said.<P> In La Plata, customers are keeping Carvel's staff busy in the cool ice cream parlor atmosphere.<P> "When the temperature goes above 95 degrees, it's busy during the day and at night when the sun goes down, they all get out of their air conditioning and come out again," said Ken Zuiderhof, owner. "In general, it's been a very busy summer."<P> The shop has been around for four years and is famous for its ice cream cakes, he said. "We've been here decorating special order cakes since about 8 this morning."<P> All of the shop's novelties such as flying saucers, chipsters and cupcakes are made fresh daily. Other offerings include shakes, floats, sundaes, dashers, smoothies, coffee drinks and icebergs.<P> Zuiderhof, 61, retired from the technology field and opened the ice cream shop. "Ice cream seemed like a happy thing," he said, adding that "Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time customers are absolutely delightful."<P> "My favorite thing about the ice cream shop is seeing the little kids, hopping in all enthusiastic about getting their ice cream," Zuiderhof said. "You know, little kids with no teeth."<P> Ice cream is cool, and so is the Capital Clubhouse ice rink in Waldorf.<P> Kids often bundle up, "especially after their second or third time [on the rink], they know it will be cold," zamboni driver Chris Gustafson, 19, said.<P> Skate guards wear red jumpsuits made out of windbreaker material, he said. "It kind of keeps you warm, but it's mainly so that you stick out to the people on the rink."<P> The ice rink is usually kept in the low 50s, said Stacey Littlejohn, interim assistant manager.<P> It's a constant battle with the temperatures outside, she said.<P> "Optimal thickness of ice is æ inch to 1.5 inches," Littlejohn said<P> "The Olympic Refinisher cuts the top layer and adds hot water to create a new layer." This helps to maintain the appropriate thickness of the ice, she said.<P> However, there's more to Capital Clubhouse, than ice, such as a rock wall, arcade and dry court &mdash; offering inline skating, hockey, dodgeball, volleyball and soccer, Littlejohn said.<P> Parents can even work out upstairs at the World Gym Express while their kids skate.<P> <a href="mailto:spoynor@somdnews.com">spoynor@somdnews.com</a><P> <P>