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Breaking the Ice

A chance to be creative can be the perfect introduction to the world of business ownership.

They've worked with playboy, the Bellagio, Stardust and dozens of other companies coming to Las Vegas for parties and conventions. Since opening their Ice Magic franchise in December, Vickie McDermott and Kathy Gallivan have developed quite a client roster and, they hope, a reputation for creatively decorating events.

McDermott, 44, and Gallivan, 51, work with their clients and employees to design ice sculptures and select the perfect touches--everything from flowers to illuminated acrylic tables--to make each event special. "[The best part is] having people call us and say 'We're doing an event and want something unique,' and we're able to put on our creative caps and make it happen," Gallivan says. "Their dreams are realized through our creativity."

Likewise, Ice Magic is somewhat of a dream come true for these franchisees. Once co-workers, McDermott, a former vice president for a software firm, and Gallivan, a former consultant, were looking for a business that would let them create and sell something. They knew Ice Magic was the right franchise for them. "We love the product," Gallivan says. "It makes every day fun, to get up and throw yourself into work."

Particularly in Las Vegas, where there's no shortage of work. "Las Vegas is built to handle large parties and the kinds of events we're doing," Gallivan says. "We feel very fortunate. Serendipity has played a large part in allowing us to [operate in] this city."

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This article was originally published in the May 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Breaking the Ice.

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