“My second son was in Afghanistan. Before he went he was stationed in Savannah, Georgia, and he loved it there. We talked about when we get this thing going, he’d open a shop downtown in Savannah for the tourists and call on grocery stores in the Southeast. He called me two years ago on my birthday, and wanted to know if I’d keep his dogs because he was going to Savannah to find a place to live. He was in Fairbanks, Alaska. And four days later he died. Undiagnosed severe coronary artery disease. Twenty-six years old. So I decided I had to get this thing going. I took something I knew I would do someday and turned it into something that we’re going to do now. So that’s why we’re here.”
“We started a year ago in thirteen stores. Now we’re in two hundred twenty five”
When did you start thinking you would make and sell ice cream?
“We went to a local scoop shop five times one summer about nine years ago to get the coffee ice cream, and they were always out of it. The girl said, “You know, it’s a specialty. We don’t make it that often.’ And I said, ‘Well, it’s on your menu.’ You know, it pissed me off, so I went home and took my vanilla recipe and I added six shots of espresso, and it was perfect. So I would take it to parties and picnics and things, and people would say, ‘Oh, this is so good you should sell it.’ Then I made Dutch chocolate and they said the same thing. Then I made strawberry and they said the same thing. Then I made pumpkin and they said, ‘Oh, I can taste the whipped cream on top.'”
“I’ve made ice cream my whole life, but I knew nothing about grocery stores, about commercially producing ice cream. Everything that we’ve done, we’ve been very, very, very fortunate that it’s always been successful. I mean when you walk in to talk to a frozen manager, say, ‘Hey, I’m a dumb-ass stockbroker farmboy from Iowa, but I make really good ice cream. Try this, because I’m gonna start making it.’ And they taste it and they say, ‘Oh, wow! I can sell this.’ And they all say that. And they know ice cream. You feel good about that.”
“My theory has always been–and I told my kids this when they were little–I don’t care what you do. If you make the best product you can–that can be made–then you sell it at a reasonable price that’s a fair profit, you’ll be successful. So, that’s what we try to do.”
Who helps you with it?
“My oldest son [who is an attorney] is my general counsel. My third son is my production manager. We have four or five other people in the plant, and several that are contracted to do demos in stores. The plant is located in Tipton.”
Tell us about your ice cream.
“We are the richest, creamiest ice cream in the world. To meet the legal definition of ice cream, you have to have 10% butter fat. If you make ice cream and you have over 1.4% egg yolk solids, then you’re custard. So, from a legal definition we have two and a half times as much butter fat as regular ice cream, and we have not quite three times the egg yolk solids.”
“Our vanilla tastes like real vanilla. We use Madagascar Bourbon. You can’t buy better vanilla. And we use a lot of it. When we made our first batch at the University of Minnesota, he added the vanilla, and I thought, That’s not nearly enough. Double that. I think we ended up using 60% more than he said. And he kept telling me, ‘No, no. You’re going to start getting that alcohol aftertaste, that alcohol burn in the back of your throat.’ Then there was this other guy there who was a flavor consultant, and he just kept kind of egging me on, so I just kept dumping it in. And we got it to where I wanted it, which is where I make it at home, and sure enough, God that stuff is good.”
“Sea salt caramel, we make our own caramel, ’cause no one else makes caramel good enough.”
“If I ever wanted to kill myself, I wouldn’t have to do it. I’d just take lemon off the market. ‘Cause those people are fanatics. The girl who is my assistant, she’d lead the charge. She’d buy the rope.”
“Coffee tastes like a cup of black coffee.”
“The Dutch chocolate. If I had a favorite…[earlier in the interview, David said he would never name a favorite].”