Ben & Jerry’s ice cream was founded by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield with the opening of their first Ice Cream Scoop shop opened in 1978 at a Burlington, VT gas station. In 1980, the demand for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream began to grow and so they began packing their ice cream in retail pints and started distributing it to mom-and-pop shops, as well as grocery stores.
In 1981, with the continued demand for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, the company moved to a better establishment in South Burlington. It was also in the same year that Ben & Jerry’s first franchise store opened in Shelburne, Vermont. In 1983, the company’s first franchise outside of Vermont was opened in Portland, Maine. It was in the same year when the ice cream pints were sold in the markets of Boston via independent distributors.
In 1984, Haagen-Dazs tried to limit the supply of Ben & Jerry’s ice creams in Boston which prompted Ben & Jerry’s to sue Pillsbury, Haagen-Dazs’ parent company. A year after, the company began to build its new manufacturing plant and headquarters at Waterbury, Vermont. At a New York writer’s suggestion, Ben & Jerry’s created a new ice cream flavor and named it New York SuperFudge Chunk®. The company then began distributing ice cream outside of the New England area. In 1986, Ben & Jerry’s launched the “Cowmobile,” an improvised motor home used to distribute scoops of free ice cream. The cow-mobile was driven by the company owners themselves, Jerry and Ben. However, four months after they started using it, it burned down.
In 1987, Ben & Jerry’s created another new flavor, this time in honor of the rock legend Jerry Garcia, the Cherry Garcia® ice cream. In the same year, Ben & Jerry’s dessert book was published by Workman Publications. Also, Ben & Jerry’s Brownie Bar was launched in the same year. This was the company’s first novelty ice cream. In the next year, the company received an award from the Economic Priorities Council for donating a portion of its pre-tax sales to non-profit groups. It was also in 1988 that the company first expanded its business to Canada.
Over the years, with the company’s growth and expansion, also became more active in supporting its environmental causes. The company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever in April 2000. Ben & Jerry’s still continues to produce its popular ice cream flavors that have delighted ice cream lovers, young and old, all over the country.
Headquarters: Vermont, USA
Ownership Type: a subsidiary of UNILEVER
Demography: ice cream lovers
Ben & Jerry’s