It all started on the streets of Cincinnati in 1870, Louis Charles Graeter began selling ice cream. He successfully sold the treat out of two carts after hand-crafting it in French Pots.
After marrying in 1900, he and his new wife, Regina, moved to 967 E McMillan Street and started selling ice cream in the front of the store while making it in back. Shortly after being widowed in 1920, Regina left with two young sons and an ice cream business got to work. Despite the prejudices she faced, Regina surpassed all expectations of women at the time and ensured the business thrived under her care. In 1922 Regina opened a new ice cream parlor in Hyde Park and continued expansion from there.
It was around this time that other ice cream companies increased output with new mass-production methods for cheaper overhead, abandoning the traditional craft. Stubbornly, Regina decided to continue making ice cream the best way she knew how: in small-batch French Pots.
Regina, joined by the second generation of the family and her sons, Wilmer and Paul, ensured the family legacy’s success through thick and thin.
During The Great Depression, they purchased a factory in Mt. Auburn to bring what was a small luxury to more people. Similarly, during World War II and the sugar shortage, they did their best to maintain production and provide a little happiness during troubling times. Each of the brothers left a lasting mark on the business.
Paul introduced the addition of a bakery to the ice cream parlors. A welcome addition in the winter. Wilmer concocted and poured a unique blend of chocolate into a batch of freezing ice cream, in doing so, invented our signature process for making chocolate chips.
After Regina’s passing and Paul’s retirement, Wilmer’s children: Dick, Lou, Jon, and later Kathy joined their father in the business.
They determined that the French Pot machines were due for an update. They began the innovations and, through much trial and error, the devices were refined and made safer, more consistent, and more durable. Even though the machines were updated, the batch size and traditional process remained completely unaltered.
The family also expanded the factory in Mt. Auburn, allowing for the production of even more ice cream. With such expansions, they were able to reach more people. The family began shipping ice cream boxed with dry ice direct to customers and talks with the Kroger Company to make the ice cream available in grocery stores in Cincinnati and in the future, ultimately, across the country.
Dick, Lou, Jon, and Kathy have since passed the torch to the next generation. Rich, Chip, and Bob now look after the business with the same eye on quality, heritage, and commitment as their predecessors.