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Perry’s Ice Cream marks 100th anniversary with lots of ‘the good stuff’

Perry’s Ice Cream marks 100th anniversary with lots of ‘the good stuff’

In marking its 100th anniversary, Perry’s Ice Cream is rolling out new and retro flavors of ice cream, planning special events and expanding its territory.

The flavors came out this week, events will last through the year and the territory expansion is part of a push that began two years ago and picked up recently.

Gayle Perry Denning, vice president of corporate sustainability and strategic branding, said 900 new accounts were opened in its Midwest territory in the last 90 days, following two years of Perry’s trucks delivering ice cream and other manufacturers’ wares in that part of the country.

“Now it seems like we reached this tipping point where things are starting to cascade in our favor,” said Denning, a fourth-generation member of the Perry family that owns the business.

Perry’s gained new territory in Ohio two years ago when the delivery arm of its company won a contract to deliver frozen pizza, Edy’s ice cream and other Nestle brands, Denning said. Perry’s then won additional territory in adjoining Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia, adding a total of 45,000 square miles to its service area.

Perry's new flavors are actually old ones.
Perry’s new flavors are actually old ones.

“The first thing we did was we branded all of our trucks with our branding,” Denning said. As the company created new relationships and started to introduce its products to the places where it delivered Nestlé’s products, it also bred familiarity with the western New York brand made in Akron, a small community on the border of Erie and Genesee counties.

At the same time, Wegmans invited Perry’s to sell its ice cream first in nine Wegmans stores in Virginia, and then expanded the invitation to include eight Maryland stores and two more Virginia stores. The impact of all this new work for Perry’s has meant it swelled from about 300 employees two years ago to more than 370 now.

They’ll help celebrate now and later this year for the 100th anniversary, which takes place Nov. 13. Right now, the company has released four old favorites from different decades: Parkerhouse (almond ice cream with maraschino cherries), Heavenly Hash (chocolate ice cream with marshmallow swirls, Swiss chips and roasted almonds), Butterscotch Sundae (butterscotch ice cream with salty butterscotch swirls and roasted peanuts), and Malt Shoppe (malted vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips). These four flavors will sell in 48-ounce containers at retail outlets. Meanwhile, a unique flavor honoring the frequent saying and favorite ice cream topping of the company founder, H. Morton Perry, will be offered in scoop shops and ice cream parlors. “The Good Stuff” is a yellow cake ice cream with swirls of strawberry and panda paw cups filled with strawberry cream.  All of those flavors likely will be available at least through March 2019, Denning said.

According to Perry family lore, the ice cream company began 100 years ago when Akron High School asked milkman H. Morton Perry to make some ice cream for its students. Denning said her great-grandfather made about two gallons of ice cream on his kitchen stove at night and sent it to school with his son—then a high school student—the next morning. To commemorate the school’s special role in the founding of the company, Perry’s will throw an ice cream social for Akron school children on June 8, delivering more than 75 gallons of ice cream to make sure there’s plenty to go around for every grade.

A special day for employees, to be arranged, will take place later in the year after the busy ice cream season is over, Denning said, and Nov. 13 will have special commemorative activities.

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