Boris Van Dyck Providence Makes Perfect
By Chris West:
Sometimes fortune smiles on the unsuspecting. Such was the case when Boris Van Dyck found the market bottom had fallen out for the then commercial real estate agent. But in a twist of timing and fortuitousness, he found that his turn-around was as close as his very own garage.
"I had just become a father and my wife didn't want me working the hours required for food and beverage and that's when I started real estate," Boris said. "But I am third generation food and beverage and I have always been a social person. What I was doing didn't give me that person-to-person contact I wanted. So Icebox became that outlet, but at the time, it was just a hobby and a little extra cash in my pocket."
"At first, I was Icebox out of my 2000 square-foot garage," he continued. "But I was only doing a handful of events back then. People would be shocked to know I was cleaning all of my equipment with a pressure washer in my driveway. I think once my neighbors saw a 20-ft trailer backing up to my house at 3:00 a.m., 40 coolers in the driveway and 25 guys dressed in black, they started to get nervous." What was once a hobby quickly became providence. Boris realized he could meld his love for F&B and spin it into a business with an unlimited ceiling, granting him the best of both worlds.
When I caught up with Boris, he was scurrying through the expanse of his warehouse—the new home of Icebox and Event Drs. The new facility is 15,000 square-feet with 3000 dedicated to a beverage lab and showroom. "The space allows clients to come in and try cocktails and it showcases what we do best: the standard classic cocktails and the mixology-forward specialty cocktails that we individually cater." "We have more room, new equipment and we are developing an ice program to add to our list of services. It just allows us to do more, grow and be more encompassing."
But with anything "bigger and better" there are sure to be growing pains and Icebox has proved that they are not above them. "With the last warehouse we looked at, we were sure that we would have sufficient space to operate and grow for years," Boris said. "Little did we know we would outgrow that space within a year. And then there are the weekends when you have an event like A Charleston Affair which is 3500 people but you also have to staff 10 weddings on the same day. But we've developed a system that really facilitates the staffing and prepping of things. So long as we stick to that system, we'll be able to get things done."
"But what really has to be the main factor to our success is our staff," he continued. "I have a core of bartenders that have been with me from the very beginning any of whom I can always rely to get things done. I used to only require that I knew you and knew you could do the job. Now, we have amped up our training and require all bartenders be Barsmarts and TIPS certified. That's insurance to make sure the standard I set for this company is maintained."