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Vikings player's business venture in 'ice'

Vikings long snapper Cullen Loeffler has made a very good living on grass.
Aug 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings long snapper Cullen Loeffler (46) talks along the sidelines during the game with the Oakland Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium. Vikings win 10-6.

MINNEAPOLIS - Vikings long snapper Cullen Loeffler has made a very good living on grass.

"Football is a perfectly lucrative enough," Loeffler laughs.

But in 11 years of playing in the NFL he has learned one indisputable fact.

"NFL not only does it stand for National Football League," says Loeffler. "It also stands for not for long. So you always have to be planning for the future."

That's where Robbie Harrell comes in, co-founder and co-owner of Minnesota Ice Sculptures.

"When you deliver someone's ice sculpture people's faces light up," says Harrell. And that's probably the coolest thing ever."

He and Loeffler now co-own the business Robbie started while a student at the University of St. Thomas.

"I didn't know anything about ice sculpting before I met Robby," recalls Loeffler.

Luckily Robbie knew quite a bit. His old business partner developed a computerized cutter that does the sculpting for them. Allowing them to make more elaborate sculptures and make them more affordable.

"We opened doors in 2013 once it got cold enough in my garage," Harrell jokes.

So how exactly does a St. Thomas college and a Minnesota Viking go into business together? They almost didn't. If not for a chance meeting on an airplane.

"I'm sitting next to the person and she says 'do you mind if I change seats?'" recalls Harrell.

"She wanted to sit next to her friends and I understand that so I gladly obliged." Loeffler laughs.

"This big guy comes walking up and I am thinking 'oh boy this is gonna be a tight squeeze,", jokes Harrell.

"I ended up sitting next to what I would find out later would be a family member," Loeffler says incredulously. "And in turn become my business partner."

That's right, fate had brought together not just two new business partners but distant cousins. Together they have just passed the one year mark at Minnesota Ice Sculptures, moved into their downtown location and continue to grow. All because they both share a desire for a bright and frozen future.

"This was a great opportunity for me to cut my teeth on my first business," says Loeffler with a big smile. "And what better way to do that than to sell ice to Minnesotans."

For more information on MN Ice Sculptures: www.MNIceSculptures.com

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