Success Stories

Success Stories: Ben and Jerry's

Although it started out in an old gas station in Burlington, Ben & Jerry’s is now an international brand. Wholesale Scout looks at its success.

In 1978 Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield started what is now known as one of the biggest ice cream brands in the world. A correspondence course on ice cream making ignited the duos sweet tooth and a year later they decided to invest in their own start-up ice cream parlour.

The business was started with $12,000 and began production in an old gas station which the pair hired out. After leasing the station they sourced wholesale ice cream making equipment and began testing out ‘unique flavours’ which they are well known for today.

The parlour closed down shortly after its inception as the pair struggled to turn a profit from ice cream making. But Ben and Jerry were determined to make the brand work so in 1980 they rented another space and began production again. A few years later their first franchise was opened and the now famous cartoon cow that adorns their ice cream tubs was created. The brand had started to take off.

What followed during the next few years was a mixture of innovative marketing campaigns (the Cow Mobile driving around the country handing out free ice cream scoops is notable) and high profile press events.

In 2000 the duo sold the company to Unilever for a whopping $326m. Twenty years after its creation the company continues to lead the market and as well as creating a variety of unique ice cream flavours, they have just released a line of frozen yogurts.

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