2013-07-24 / Lifestyles

Perry’s Ice Cream churns 95 years of frozen delights

by KAITLIN LINDAHL
Reporter


Brian Perry, left, enjoys a scoop of Perry’s Ice Cream with Gayle Perry Denning and Bob Denning. Each year, Perry’s Ice Cream turns out a few new flavors. New this year are Sponge Candy, Movie Time, Queen of Hearts and Oh My, Cherry Pie. All four flavors are available at ice cream stands. 
Photos by Jim Smerecak. Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Brian Perry, left, enjoys a scoop of Perry’s Ice Cream with Gayle Perry Denning and Bob Denning. Each year, Perry’s Ice Cream turns out a few new flavors. New this year are Sponge Candy, Movie Time, Queen of Hearts and Oh My, Cherry Pie. All four flavors are available at ice cream stands. Photos by Jim Smerecak. Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com The cutout of a brown sugar cone topped with a dollop of white ice cream, dotted with cherries, is an iconic symbol of summertime. Once the cone is spotted, a hankering for Perry’s Ice Cream usually ensues.

Whether it’s Panda Paws or Mint-Ting-A-Ling, Perry’s has long held a sweet spot for ice cream aficionados.

Perry’s Ice Cream began nearly 95 years ago when its founder was advised to seek a different occupation.

“It was my great-grandfather, H. Morton Perry, and his wife, Mabel, and he was looking for a change in employment for health reasons,” said Gayle Perry Denning, the company’s director of sustainability. “He worked at a broom factory, and the factory advised him to find a more healthy occupation.


Perry’s Ice Cream started out as a small dairy on Pearl Street in the Village of Akron. In 1982, the company moved to its current location at One Ice Cream Plaza, Akron. The company now distributes to 31 countries. Perry’s Ice Cream started out as a small dairy on Pearl Street in the Village of Akron. In 1982, the company moved to its current location at One Ice Cream Plaza, Akron. The company now distributes to 31 countries. “He found a dairy that was for sale. It was actually a milk route, was what he bought, in Akron in 1918, and he started delivering milk.”

Then in 1932, Perry went from simply providing milk to making and distributing the sweet treat that Perry’s is known for today.

“The school had asked him if he could make some ice cream,” Denning said. “He was known for having a family recipe that was very well liked in the community.” When Perry began making ice cream, he started out with one flavor, though no one can say with certainty what that first flavor was.


In November, Perry’s Ice Cream will celebrate its 95th anniversary. To help mark the occasion, it will begin selling its new flavor, Sponge Candy, in stores for a limited time. In November, Perry’s Ice Cream will celebrate its 95th anniversary. To help mark the occasion, it will begin selling its new flavor, Sponge Candy, in stores for a limited time. “We don’t know for sure which was the first flavor that great-grandpa made. Obviously, vanilla’s probably the 95 percent chance,” said Brian Perry, executive vice president and vice chairman. “But I also know that his favorite flavor was strawberry.”

From just one flavor to now more than 75, Perry’s Ice Cream and products have grown exponentially. What once was contained to Akron is now being sold as far east as Massachusetts and in 31 countries.

“[It’s] kind of amazing to think that … things that are manufactured right here in Akron reach 31 countries in the world,” Denning said. “When before [it] was probably 31 miles.”

In November, Perry’s Ice Cream will celebrate its 95th anniversary, and what better way to mark the occasion than with ice cream?

“For the Sponge Candy fans, which there are many, … they should look in the grocery stores for the Sponge Candy,” said Bob Denning, Perry’s president and chief executive officer. “Limited time. It’s really part of our 95th celebration.”

The Sponge Candy ice cream is expected to be in stores this fall.

As far as plans for the future, all three agree that expansion is key.

“In addition to ice cream, we continue to expand. We have a partnership that’s entering its second year with Utz potato chips and pretzels, so we’re really looking at a full line of snack cakes as well,” Bob

Denning said. “So [we] continue to diversify our revenues and really look to grow the business [and] add team members to help build the distribution.” However, as Perry’s Ice Cream continues to grow in the years to come, one thing remains the same.

“While the process has been greatly enhanced and the quality gets narrowed in with the technology … the ingredients are the same,” Gayle Denning said. “[We] still take that time and energy.”

email: klindahl@beenews.com

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