Until you’ve made it through a Tucson summer in bell sleeves and flares, you’ll never know just how hot it was in the summer of 1971. Let’s just say many people that year got a taste of eegee’s frozen lemonade and they never looked back.
Throughout the decades, eegee’s has always been about serving the community. Now over 50 years since we first cruised down Speedway Boulevard in our original lemonade truck, we wanted to share part of our story and how we’ve managed to win over the hearts (and taste buds) of so many in Tucson and beyond.
At eegee’s, we got our start operating a single vending truck and we haven’t forgotten our roots since. Tucsonans were an easy sell once the heat settled in. All it took was one group of “cool moms” to show up to the park with an eegee in their hand and people took notice. It may or may not have happened like that, but word of a new local frozen drink definitely traveled fast that year.
With its newfound community love, eegee’s went to schools, concerts and just about every UofA football game trying to make a real business. The company was spreading a little frozen comfort in every delicious drink they sold. You couldn’t even go to the store without someone saying, “Have you tried eegee’s yet?” Subs, fries, and salads would later round out their menu as stores began to pop up all over the Southern part of the state.
When mom takes you out for a treat after a major life milestone, it makes the memory that much sweeter. Whether it’s a grownup promotion or a child’s first lost tooth, there’s nothing like marking the moment with a special treat. Locals love to say that for every celebration, there’s a trip to eegee’s. The staff here is a part of celebrations large and small, and we’re lucky enough to be able to celebrate those moments daily.
It’s why every month, the company plans out surprises for its customers and community. On any given day, you might get a free sample, find a funpak with a prize, or be scared silly in the drive-thru with a Halloween prank.
To the people who love eegee’s, these are more than gimmicks to drum up more business. This is a real way for the company to engage with the community and get to know them on a personal level. After all, it’s a lot easier to remember people when you take time out to do something for them, right?!
At eegee’s, the daily grind is about more than just building up our core business. We believe the community does better when everybody does better. It’s why we take the time to partner with other businesses to create economic opportunities for all. For instance, our adult beverages in different flavors of the month, known as a Teekee, also give back.
If you order a Teekee, you’re supporting the collaboration of eegee’s and one of the area’s local bars. And if you happen to find yourself craving the same beverage after one of our flavors has enjoyed its moment in the sun, all you have to do is go on social media to get the recipe. **Tastebuds cheering in the background.**
eegee’s is immensely proud of the creative individuals who live here, which is why you’ll find local art in our stores. Much of the swag you’ll track down here is truly one-of-a-kind, making it a place to shop as much as it is a place to eat.
And if you’d rather hear some great songs instead, you’re invited to check out the eegee’s social media segment dubbed “Vibees” where we broadcast local musicians for everyone to enjoy. eegee’s even curates its own Spotify playlist for fans called Vibees playlist. Talk about a customized experience!
Local charity is very important to eegee’s. Doing our part isn’t just something that we talk about, it’s something that we actively do on a regular basis. In 1988, we started selling coupon books so we could donate to causes we care about. Over the past 30+ years, we’ve managed to donate more than $3 million to local organizations!
In addition, we give all the money from our coin canisters to one charity every quarter. In 10 years, all that change has totaled more than $100,000. So, if you happen to toss a few dimes into a canister at one of our many registers across the state, you can pat yourself on the back for giving to a good cause.
COVID-19 disrupted all of our lives, but some braved far more than others. eegee’s singled out frontline workers, grocery staff, and volunteers during the pandemic because we wanted them to eat well during this challenging time. Delivering food may have been a small contribution, but it was important to show our love however we could.
We also had 10 Days of Giveaways in 2020 during the holidays. During this promotion, community members could nominate the people in their lives for a special eegee’s prize. In just one week, we had 700 nominations. This was our cue to expand the program by partnering with more businesses. We love that we could honor those who had given their all during such a trying time.
Waste is one of the most dangerous risks that you can take for the Earth, but eegee’s is committed to turning that around. Long before the green movement ever became popular, eegee’s has looked for innovative ways to reuse, recycle, and just generally be a little kinder to the planet.
It’s how we developed the program Green for Green. It’s one of our most notable recycling programs in which we accumulate used items such as buckets, boxes, pallets, and scrap metal and sell everything at a reduced cost. Then we turn around and give that money back to hourly employees for educational expenses. We also cover half the cost of an annual bus pass for employees to encourage them to take public transportation.
Finally, any leftover bread we have is donated to Casa Maria soup kitchen on a weekly basis. Unsold cardboard becomes paper recyclers, and all proceeds made from the recyclers are given to Casa Maria as well. That’s 200,000 loaves of bread and around $10,000 every year.
Our efforts might be smaller than some larger brands, but we like to think we’re mightier, more creative and have the street cred to prove it. But, you don’t have to know very much about us to know that we make a difference. Just ask our staff, our customers, or the communities we serve in. Take it easy, friends.