Ice the next hot thing?

Could an entrepreneur find the next convenience store refreshment frontier in ice?

Apparently, ice is not just for cooling your beverages anymore.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that fast food chains including Sonic and Taco Time sell cups of ice to their customers, and some ice fans have gone so far as to install Sonic-style ice machines in their homes.

A few years ago, the singer Amy Grant wanted to find the perfect Christmas gift for her husband, Mr. Gill, the country-music star. She had a Scotsman machine costing several thousand dollars installed in their garage in Nashville.

“I’ve chewed ice my whole life,” says the 50-year-old Mr. Gill. Growing up in Oklahoma, he says, he judged restaurants by the quality of their ice. Today, he says, when he travels outside the U.S., he finds slim pickings.

“Europe is a drag,” he says. “I ask for ice, and they give me one or two cubes. They’re stingy with their ice. I’d never survive there.”

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