Graeter's Ice Cream, a 146-year-old, family owned craft ice cream brand, will celebrate National Ice Cream Month this July with a calendar of events meant to surprise and delight Graeter's fans nationwide. The company begins the summer ice cream season by celebrating its 146 th birthday with the introduction of its Summer Bonus Flavors and amplifies the excitement behind National Ice Cream Month with the addition of new scoop shops in a total of four cities.
Graeter's Ice Cream will take advantage of National Ice Cream Day on July 17 with a one-day promotion that invites consumers everywhere to celebrate the company's 146 th birthday, during which Graeter's iconic ice cream cones will be sold for only $1.46. Graeter's plans to further take advantage of National Ice Cream Month in July with its annual unveiling of Summer Bonus Flavors in scoop shops and online for a limited time. Each flavor, revealed every other Monday, offers ice cream fans the allure of an innovative flavor made with the Graeter's quality they expect. New bonus flavors will be announced on June 27, July 11, July 25, August 8 and August 22.
This summer will also see the first opening of a series of four new Graeter's scoop shops. Among the locations to welcome a store are Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Winnetka, Illinois. Each will tout a new interior look with updated environmental branding as well as offer a complete menu of handcrafted ice cream, sundaes, milkshakes and signature ice cream sodas.
"Our 146 th birthday on National Ice Cream Day is the perfect time to celebrate Graeter's and the fans who have helped to make us such a mainstay in so many homes nationwide," shares Chip Graeter, fourth-generation owner of Graeter's Ice Cream. "We take an incredible amount of pride in creating the ideal ice cream experience, which we've been perfecting since Graeter's first small batch of ice cream was churned in 1870."
Make a delectable ice cream creation featuring a fun twist on classic favorites!
Grilled Peaches and Cream Shortcake is a unique twist on a classic dessert. Grilled peaches are served with vanilla bean shortcake, a scoop of Graeter's creamy ice cream and homemade whipped cream! I love using either the Madagascar Vanilla Bean or Original Salted Caramel Ice Cream with this recipe.
Get the recipe now and enjoy, visit the Spoonful of Flavor blog by Ashley (created by in partnership with the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association to celebrate July Ice Cream Month).
Graeter’s Ice Cream Joins Pittsburgh’s Wexford Neighborhood with First Pennsylvania Scoop Shop
CINCINNATI, OH (June 30, 2016) – Graeter’s Ice Cream, a 146-year-old, family owned craft ice cream brand, is opening its newest scoop shop in Pittsburgh’s Wexford neighborhood in early July. Touting a bright and inviting interior look with family–friendly amenities, this location will offer a complete menu of handcrafted ice cream, sundaes, milkshakes and old-fashioned ice cream sodas for which the beloved Ohio-based company is known.
A Hard Hat Tour celebrating the new scoop shop opening is planned for June 21 at the Wexford location, whereby media in the community and area dignitaries are invited to celebrate along with the Graeter family and Graeter’s team members.
“We’ve seen growth in our ice cream sales in the Pittsburgh area through our grocery partners over the last few years and we’ve been working on finding the perfect spot to open a Graeter’s scoop shop for some time,” shares Chip Graeter, fourth-generation owner of Graeter’s Ice Cream. “We’re excited to provide unforgettable experiences to Wexford ice cream lovers as well as the families who live in the surrounding neighborhoods. We’re eager to open our beautiful new store and start dipping our hand-crafted ice cream and other treats.”
In addition to the new Wexford location, this summer will see an additional Graeter’s location in Chicago, Illinois, as well as recently opened scoop shops in Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio.
The address of the Wexford scoop shop is 10610 Perry Hwy., Wexford, PA 15090. Summer hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 11 p.m Sunday. Contact us today at email@example.com.
CINCINNATI, OH (June 30, 2016) – Graeter’s Ice Cream, a 146-year-old, family owned craft ice cream brand, is opening its newest scoop shop in Cleveland’s Crocker Park the last week of June. Touting a bright and inviting interior look with family-friendly amenities, this location will offer a complete menu of handcrafted ice cream, sundaes, milkshakes and old-fashioned ice cream sodas for which the beloved Ohio-based company is known.
A Hard Hat Tour celebrating the new scoop shop opening is planned for June 20 at the Crocker Park location, whereby media in the community and area dignitaries are invited to celebrate along with the Graeter family and Graeter’s team members.
“Cleveland has been a very exciting market for us as we have expanded our business selling pints through local grocery partners. We’ve been working on a finding the perfect spot in the Cleveland area for a long time now,” shares Chip Graeter, fourth-generation owner of Graeter’s Ice Cream. “We’re excited to provide unforgettable experiences to Westlake ice cream lovers as well as the families who live in the surrounding neighborhoods. We’re eager to open our beautiful new store and start dipping our hand-crafted ice cream and other treats.”
In addition to the new Crocker Park location, this summer will see Graeter’s first scoop shop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a second shop in Chicago, Illinois, in addition to a recently opened shop in Columbus, Ohio.
The address of the Crocker Park scoop shop is 261 Main St., Westlake, OH 44145. Summer hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or (440) 899-2158
“Banana Chocolate Chip is a classic ice cream parlor flavor we have been making as a summer seasonal flavor for many years. Given our busy seasonal line up we have made it as a bonus flavor this year. Banana lovers like the rich banana taste complemented with our milk chocolate chips. It tastes like a chocolate dipped banana in a scoop. It also happens to be my daughters favorite flavor!” Bob Graeter.
Released as our third summer bonus flavor, it will only be available for two short weeks (or less) given it’s popularity. So hurry in to your nearest Graeter’s scoop shop or purchase some pints sold exclusively online at graeters.com.
Check back every two weeks throughout the summer for the release of a new Summer Bonus Flavor. New flavor releasing on 6/27/16, 7/11/16, 7/25/16, 8/8/16, 8/22/16.
Graeter’s Ice Cream Joins the Polaris Community with a New Scoop Shop
CINCINNATI, OH (June 7, 2016) – Graeter’s Ice Cream, a 146-year-old, family owned craft ice cream brand, is opening its 11th retail store in the Columbus area at the corner of Polaris Parkway and Sancus Boulevard on June 17, 2016. Touting a new interior look with updated environmental branding and a drive thru, this location will offer a complete menu of handcrafted ice cream, sundaes, milkshakes and old-fashioned ice cream sodas for which the beloved Ohio-based company is known.
A ribbon cutting celebrating the new scoop shop opening is planned for June 17 at 10 a.m., whereby community members and area dignitaries are invited to celebrate along with the Graeter family and Graeter’s team members. In addition, a portion of the first week’s sales will go to the Columbus Chapter of the American Diabetes Association, the national organization with the mission to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by this disease.
“We’ve been working on a finding the perfect spot in the Polaris area for a long time now,” shares Chip Graeter, fourth-generation owner of Graeter’s Ice Cream. “We’re excited to provide unforgettable experiences to Polaris shoppers as well as the families who live in the surrounding neighborhoods. I think the community will really enjoy our beautiful new store design.”
In addition to the new Polaris location, this summer will see Graeter’s first stores in Cleveland and Pittsburgh as well as a second location in the Chicago area.
The address of the Polaris store is 8749 Sancus Blvd Columbus, OH 43222. Summer hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. Sunday.
See our latest scoop shop updates on our Polaris Facebook Page.
Our second flavor releasing, Mexican Chocolate, is spicy dark chocolate ice cream with a little cinnamon that provides subtle heat on the finish.
“My idea behind this flavor is to convey the flavor of Mexican drinking chocolate made in the home by Mexican mothers for their families. They buy cakes of Mexican chocolate made in local street side factories for this purpose. The cakes are stirred into hot water or milk to make a chocolate drink. Typically it has chocolate and cinnamon plus other flavors. It has a very subtle that comes mostly from the cinnamon.” Bob Graeter.
Check back every two weeks throughout the summer for the release of a new Summer Bonus Flavor. New flavor releasing on 6/13/16, 6/27/16, 7/11/16, 7/25/16, 8/8/16, 8/22/16.
Graeter’s Ice Cream Reopens at Cincinnati International Airport Location, with Full Menu of Signature Treats
CINCINNATI, OH (May 9, 2016) – Graeter’s Ice Cream, a 146-year-old family owned and operated craft ice cream brand, and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) are excited to unveil Graeter’s new location at the airport. Replacing the company’s current kiosk, which opened in 2013, Graeter’s store location is currently serving airport travelers with the superior service and menu of decadent pastries, candy and ice cream, for which the beloved Cincinnati-based company is known on a larger level.
Graeter’s new 657 square foot location is located in Concourse A of CVG. After amassing much praise from travelers since its opening in 2013, the updates to the storefront speak to the brand’s relevancy and continued growth in the community. The storefront ultimately puts Graeter’s in the position to serve a wider range of ice cream fans and will be open daily from 5:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
“This new shop is a good indication of how well Graeter’s has done since its arrival to CVG,” says Candace McGraw, Chief Executive Officer of CVG. “It only makes sense to offer a Cincinnati favorite as a concession option in our hometown airport. We’re thrilled to see how well it has done, and are excited to see a brand that reflects our community continue to grow among all travelers.”
“We’re excited to expand our service to Greater Cincinnati travelers,” added Chip Graeter, fourth-generation owner. “We’ve built a beautiful new store and greatly expanded our selection of ice cream, candy and fresh bakery. We’re looking forward to many years of delighting our current customers as well as letting visitors from around the world experience Graeter’s for the first time.”
A location at CVG is a unique opportunity to serve international ice cream fans with a Cincinnati favorite that represents a taste of the city. As a local brand with close ties to the community, the partnership between Graeter’s and CVG presents opportunities for growth for both the ice cream brand and the airport while still bringing a sweet indulgence to travelers.
Graeter’s Ice Cream produces craft ice cream using the small batch, artisanal, French Pot process, dating back over a century. Graeter’s has won the hearts of ice cream enthusiasts across the country as well as the respect of the nation’s most influential foodies. Winner of the 2015 Munchie Award for best ice cream in the United States, the Cincinnati-based company remains family owned and operated and continues to handcraft ice cream 2½ gallons at a time. Today, Graeter’s has more than 50 retail stores and ship over 300,000 pints annually for online mail order sales. Graeter’s can also be found in more than 6,000 grocery stores in 46 states.
About Cincinnati International Airport
CVG offers more nonstop destinations than any airport in the region, including direct international service to Paris, Toronto, Cancun, Montego Bay, Punta Cana and Freeport Grand Bahama. CVGairport.com is your award-winning, travel-planning resource with flight status, security wait times, parking availability and weather.
CVG is one of the three global super-hubs for DHL, a top 10 cargo airport in North America and is recognized globally as a leading U.S. airport by SkyTrax World Airport Awards. CVG is the only airport in the country to receive Safety Act Designation and Certification from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), giving the airport the highest level of protections under the Act.
Graeter’s Ice Cream is an ice cream chain that got its start over 145 years ago. Louis Graeter started the business in 1868, when he began selling ice cream at neighborhood street markets in Cincinnati, OH. In 1922, Louis opened the first Graeter’s ice cream parlor and soon began expanding throughout the country. Today, the fourth generation of the Graeter family owns and operates the company and there are over 50 neighborhood store locations across the country. You can also find Graeter’s in grocery stores including Kroger, Whole Foods, Meijer and Jewel-Osco.
In this interview with Richard Graeter, President and CEO of Graeter’s Ice Cream, he shares the history behind Graeter’s, how they compete on a national scale and what has been their key to maintaining quality over the last 145 years in business.
Tell me a little bit about Graeter’s Ice Cream. How did the company get started?
Richard: Graeter’s is a family owned and operated, Cincinnati based ice cream brand that’s been around for four generations! Our ice cream is made in small batches, 2 1/2 gallons at a time, and every pint is hand packed. As the landscape of the food industry continues to shift with each passing trend, the fourth-generation of the Graeter family continues to handcraft their ice cream the same they have been since 1870, 2½ gallons at a time. An emerging trend among consumers, craft ice cream is defined as small-batch, locally produced, and handcrafted – traits that Graeter’s Ice Cream has embodied for over 145 years. Today, we are the only commercial ice cream manufacturer to still use the French Pot process, which produces an ice cream with a uniquely dense and smooth texture, and allows the formation of our signature gourmet chocolate chunks.
How do you market Graeter’s Ice Cream and what are your marketing challenges?
Richard: We take great pride in marketing Graeter’s. First and foremost, our scoop shops let consumers experience Graeter’s first hand. All the marketing in the world pales in comparison to the most important moment of truth: tasting Graeter’s for the first time. With one taste, the shopper instantly understands the Graeter’s difference, and it is that personal experience that will drive them into the grocery store as well as to our online store where they can order ice cream for home delivery. Secondly, we focus heavily on social media, staying in close contact with each fan and offering them a more intimate look at the company. Public relations, too, helps us to promote the Graeter’s brand to a wider audience, promoting special events like our truck tour, and community engagements, like our sponsorship for the Western and Southern Open Tennis Tournament.
The most important challenge in marketing is cutting through the clutter of brands that do not live up to their own hype. Today, even the world’s largest corporations claim to be making “craft” or “artisan” ice cream, and the overuse of these terms by companies large and small who fail to live up to the promise risks making them meaningless. Our challenge is to prove to the consumer that not all craft claims are equal, that there is a difference in quality, and that they need to take care not to be fooled by false marketing. Authenticity is the key, and there are very few brands that actually deliver on the promises that they make. My challenge is to make sure that Graeter’s delivers and exceeds consumer expectations every single time.
How do you compete with other ice cream brands?
Richard: We compete with other ice cream brands simply by making a superior product. For over 145 years, our single-minded dedication to product quality has established the Graeter’s brand and earned a strong and loyal following among our customers. The market today is being flooded with new ice cream innovations, from ice cream made with nitrogen before your eyes to the use of trendy, exotic, or even weird ingredients that seem more intent on surprising rather than delighting. These products often come with a surprisingly steep price tag. While we are uncompromising in our continued dedication to heritage of quality, we try not to take ourselves too seriously. It is, after all, just ice cream. And traditional American ice cream at its core is a simple pleasure.
We don’t get much more exotic than Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip, which is our most popular flavor, and frankly, I think that our plain vanilla (which is made with fresh ground Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans) is pure perfection. The neat thing about Graeter’s is that we serve the entire family. Grandma and Grandpa can order traditional favorites like Butter Pecan, Mom and Dad can get more sophisticated scoops like Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip or one of our new gelatos, and the kids can delight in childhood favorites like Cookies and Cream. We serve the entire family, while remaining an affordable luxury. Hand made quality is expensive, and we do cost a little more than the national brands, but we keep our price below that of the other trendy brands that you may find on shelf today.
What are your biggest challenges?
Richard: It is crucial for the Graeter’s Ice Cream team to be full of great people. The secret to our success is a strong team of A-players. Finding the best people is very difficult, but we have been very successful in attracting the best and brightest to join the Graeter’s team. With a strong team, no challenge is insurmountable.
What are the pros and cons of the franchise model?
Richard: We no longer offer franchises. While we do currently have one franchisee, we decided that the only way we could guarantee our quality was to keep everything within the family. Franchising is a strategy for fast growth, and you can get rich quick with this model, but you can fail pretty fast too. The Graeter family has opted for slow and steady growth, and our vision is to continue to build our legacy of quality and pass it on to the 5th generation of family leadership.
How did you start expanding the business and what was your process for sourcing new locations?
Richard: We began our expansion back in 2007 with a test market at King Soopers stores in Denver, Colorado. The success of that test led to our expansion to additional markets, which led to the need for a new production facility, ultimately enabling us to expand to even more markets so that now, you can find Graeter’s in most states. Our most recent expansion was in the southeast with our introduction in Harris Teeter stores this spring. Even though we have been expanding distribution, you won’t find Graeter’s everywhere or in every grocery chain. Many big box retailers are simply not right for our brand, and sometimes the most important decision is deciding to say “no” to a growth opportunity.
Equally important for us is our network of Graeter’s retail stores. Finding the right location for a retail store is more art than science, and location can make or break a store. Graeter’s retail stores allow consumers to experience our brand in person, which then leads to higher purchases at the grocery store. Our grocery sales are much higher in markets where we also have Graeter’s retail stores, which is why we are aggressively expanding our network of retail stores. In the last year or so, we have opened seven new stores, including one in Oxford, home of my alma mater Miami University, our first store in Chicago, and we have two more stores set to open this fall. We are actively pursuing a second Chicago location, as well as two locations in Cleveland for next year, and perhaps Nashville after that. Our vision is to be the premier ice cream in the Midwest.
How do you source your ingredients? How has your model changed since the beginning and What did you learn along the way?
Richard: We source the highest quality ingredients for Graeter’s Ice Cream, from fresh local Ohio cream, to black raspberries grown on family farms in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, to the world’s finest vanilla beans from Madagascar. What we put into our ice cream is as important as how we make it. The only thing that has changed is that we need more ingredients today than we did in my father’s day. Now, we buy entire crops a year in advance, and may carry a million dollars in inventory of raw fruit and nuts. But that is the only way to ensure that we have the quality ingredients that we need on hand. You can’t just go out and buy some things like Willamette Valley black raspberries, you get one chance a year to get them and then its gone. And since Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip is our most popular flavor, we cannot afford to run out!
Did you use any investment funding to get started? What were the advantages or disadvantages?
Richard: We remain 100% family owed. Because of our 145-year history of successfully managing our business in a careful and conservative manner, we have found that conventional bank financing is always available when we need it, which isn’t often. Coming from a thrifty Germanic heritage, we prefer to finance our growth out of cash flow. That limits growth somewhat, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. When you have third party investors, you focus changes to short-term quarterly metrics and purely financial measures of return. By being 100% family owned, we look long term, sometimes generations into the future, and can consider non-monetary returns on investment that would never show up on an investor’s financial statement.
Who do you admire in the industry and why?
Richard: I admire every little guy out there with a passion for making something different and better than anything else on the market. I go to a trade show called The Fancy Food Show in New York City every summer to share our ice cream with thousands of professionals in the specialty food industry. I always take time to walk the aisles and sample products, and I meet some pretty incredible people who are as passionately dedicated to making the best possible product in their category as I am to making ice cream. These passionate men and women are my heroes – each and every one of them – as I appreciate the sacrifice and struggle that comes with trying to bring a quality brand to market. Unfortunately, it is often not the best quality product that wins out. The barriers to getting a specialty product on shelf are extremely high, and expensive, and sadly, many consumers will never get the chance to try many of the wonderful products I find at the show. For example, my favorite Greek yogurt is Fage – it is the Graeter’s of Greek yogurt – but it is almost impossible to find. The big corporate brands soak up all the shelf space, making it very difficult for smaller quality brands like Fage to get a fair shot. We are competing with Nestle and Unilever for space in the freezer, and it can be very difficult for us when they can spend millions and millions of dollars to incentivize retailers to take space away from little guys like Graeter’s so that they can fill the shelves with lower quality products.
How do you know when and what to delegate to your team?
Richard: I do not micromanage my team. In fact, any CEO who does is an abject failure, as he or she must not trust their team to do the job that they were hired to do. I sleep pretty well at night knowing that I have a team of A players that are uniquely qualified to know more about their area of responsibility than I do. My executive team meets as a group weekly, and everyone is expected to bring important issues in their area of responsibility to the table. We openly discuss important issues, solicit recommendations, and make decisions by consensus. If even a single member of my team objects, that is a big red flag warning me to check my assumptions.
Do you have any “growth hacker” tips for entrepreneurs looking to take their business to the next level? What examples do you have of things you did that set yourself apart from the rest?
Richard: Since it took us over a hundred years to expand out of the city of Cincinnati, I’m not sure that anyone can accuse us of being growth hackers! I think that the most important thing is to welcome help, and even to look for it in unexpected places. We used to do everything ourselves, but you can only do so much on your own. Our growth curve began when we hired consultants with expertise that we lacked, and continued by adding senior level nonfamily members to our team, and accelerated by forming strategic alliances with third parties like suppliers, customers, and even competitors. The best growth hack is finding people and partners who want to grow with you.
What advice do you have for businesses that are having a hard time trying to figure out how to scale their business?
Richard: Small brands succeed in differentiating their product, usually based on quality. Authenticity is critically important when growing a brand, and by that I mean that you must resist the temptation to compromise on what established your brand when trying to grow it. In the ice cream category, I have seen it all too often. A small craft ice cream maker starts out with one shop making ice cream in the back room and begins to win a loyal following, but then turn to co-packing (which means a larger third manufacturing actually makes the product and merely puts the little guy’s name on the container) in order to expand. What you end up with is mass-produced ice cream whose main difference is fancy marketing and a higher price point, but is no longer a small batch artisan product. I understand the temptation, as working with dairy products in a small manufacturing environment can be a perilous endeavor, but you can’t compromise your brand just to feed growth. Some people want to get rich quick then sell out. My motivation is to build on my father’s legacy and pass it on to my children. My partners, who are my cousins, share in this vision.
Graeter’s Ice Cream Continues Unprecedented Growth with First Initial Expansion into Cleveland
CINCINNATI, OH (November 12, 2015) – Graeter’s Ice Cream, a 145-year-old family owned and operated craft ice cream brand, has announced its plans to expand the company’s network of retail stores to the Cleveland area. The new store in Cleveland’s Crocker Park is slated to open the summer of 2016 and will offer a complete menu of decadent ice cream, sundaes, milkshakes and old-fashioned sodas for which Graeter’s has come to be known.
“We’re proud to bring the Cleveland community a new way to enjoy Graeter’s Ice Cream,” says Richard Graeter, CEO and fourth-generation owner of Graeter’s Ice Cream. “We believe ice cream is more than an indulgence, it is an experience meant to be shared with family and friends. Our first Cleveland scoop shop will allow us to share our love for authentic ice cream with the community while staying true to our vision of quality and integrity.”
The Graeter family’s passion for making ice cream is evident by their use of century-old technology, The French Pot freezer. Each batch of ice cream is made 2 ½ gallons at a time using quality ingredients such as cream from Ohio dairy farms, vanilla beans from Madagascar and black raspberries from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The French Pots also allow Graeter’s trained artisans to handcraft their signature chocolate chips. The resulting ice cream is so dense and creamy, due to the absence of whipped-in air, that each pint must be packed by hand. Pints are currently sold at select Cleveland grocery stores.
At more than 2,000 square feet, Graeter’s Crocker Park store will feature all of the new branding elements created in 2013 that combine a contemporary look to an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. Designed to be a destination for families and true ice cream aficionados, this location will have indoor and patio seating for over fifty people.
Graeter’s Ice Cream was founded in 1870, cultivating a community of loyal brand lovers by selling their popular French Pot churned ice cream in Cincinnati’s street markets. Once sold in the deli section of a dozen Kroger stores in the 1980’s, Graeter’s Ice Cream is now in over 2,000 Kroger stores from coast to coast and is offered in such prestigious retailers as Whole Foods, Giant Eagle, and Henien’s. The new Cleveland store will be joining over 50 other successful Graeter’s Ice Cream shops in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois.
Graeter’s Ice Cream produces craft ice cream and gelato lines using the small batch, artisanal method, the French pot process, dating back over a century. Graeter’s has won the hearts of ice cream enthusiasts across the country as well as the respect of the nation’s most influential foodies. Winner of the 2015 Munchie award for best ice cram in the United States, the Cincinnati-based company remains family owned and operated and continues to handcraft ice cream 2½ gallons at a time. Today, Graeter’s has 45 retail stores and ship over 300,000 pints annually for online mail order sales. Graeter’s can also be found in more than 6,000 grocery stores in 46 states. Visit www.graeters.com for more information.