A new company has taken over the accounts of Old Town Newhall Ice Company, which is one of the Santa Clarita Valley’s most historic businesses.
The closure of the 111-year-old business was shocking and sudden, according to residents who reported the news on social media Friday.
Some in the community wondered where they would buy dry ice and refill CO2 tanks if not at the Old Town Newhall Ice Company, but the landlords of the historic location said it’s still business as usual at 22502 Fifth St.
“Somebody just called me and said that you can’t get ice at the Newhall Ice location anymore and I said, ‘No! You call them and tell them we’re still open. Don’t put us out of business before we even start,” David Mills, president of The Great American Syrup Co., said Friday.
Mills said he and wife Debi serve as landlords of the Newhall lot and lease the space out to various companies — one of which was Old Town Newhall Ice.
“They decided to close business for their own personal reasons and Mathers Brothers is taking over,” Mills said, mentioning Mathers Brothers will handle the distribution and The Great American Syrup Co. will be responsible for the storefront operations.
“There’s been such a following here for so many years that we’re going to continue operating the storefront and curbside pickup,” Mills said. “A lot of people have been saying they’ve been coming since the ’70s and we’ve been doing this for two weeks now.”
There are little signs in the windows directing patrons where they should go, according to Mills, who said he intends to perform only a few “mild” renovations because the location is a historically protected building.
“We’re going to patch it up a little, but it’s business as usual. It’s just new management,” Mills said. “We’re going to be selling dry ice, and possibly firewood and water as well, because those are the products offered by the Mathers Brothers. We’ll also fill up CO2 tanks. We’re the only company in this valley who does that, so I know people will be excited to know that’s still available.”
While Mills expects many of the beloved qualities possessed by the Old Town Newhall Ice Co. to carry over to the new business, he doesn’t think the name will be kept.
“It might be called Fire and Ice because we’ll sell firewood, but right now, the company is just The Great American Syrup Co.,” Mills said. “We’re setting up the office now,” and residents are invited to come purchase anything they need from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
The Old Town Newhall Ice Co. has sold all manners of frozen water from the same building on Fifth Street between Railroad Avenue and the Newhall Avenue traffic circle since the current building went up in 1922.
Local residents Trey and Sara Hajek bought Old Town Newhall Ice for $400,000 in 2010.
“Trey and I got first dibs,” Sara previously told The Signal in 2017. When the previous owners, Will and Kathy Pape, were ready to sell in 2010, Sara had been doing the company’s books for three years, and Trey had worked there for a decade.
Known for its intricate ice sculptures and sledding hills, Old Town Newhall Ice constructed projects for the city of Diamond Bar’s Winterfest and the holiday celebration in Pershing Square, which occurs in downtown Los Angeles.
The Hajeks, who could not be reached on Friday, said in 2017 that they had no intention to sell, but were getting their company appraised as soon as the Board of Equalization completed its sales tax audit.
“It’s always good to know what your company is worth,” Sara said in 2017. “We just hope it’s worth more than we paid for it.”