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Entrepreneur And Ice Cream Baron Tom Carvel


Tom Carvel's First Ice Cream  Stand in Hartsdale, New York 

I grew up in Westchester County in the 1960s through the early 1980s consuming lots of Carvel Ice Cream. But I never knew much about the founder of the company, Greek immigrant Tom Carvel.  Born in Athens, Greece 1906, Carvel migrated with his family to New York City in 1910. He borrowed $15 from his fiancé in 1929 to begin selling ice cream out of the trunk of a truck as a mobile street vendor. He built his first ice cream stand in the Westchester County village of Hartsdale New York after his truck broke down there in1934. He continued to sell ice cream out of the truck until he saved enough money could build a brick-and-mortar facility in 1936. Carvel’s story reminds me of what has happened with many entrepreneurs. Dating back to the 1700s one sees street venders of food or more lately food trucks evolve over time. The formula goes: build a reputation for customer service and great food, attract loyal customers, accumulate capital, transition to a more expensive brick-and-mortar eatery. Carvel experienced phenomenal growth and success, because his drive and ingenuity. He invented and patented his own airfree soft serve ice cream machine in 1939, began franchising his ice cream business in 1947 and subsequently produced prefabricated ice cream stores.  A marketing genius became the first CEO to advertise on the radio and television. Today I can find his products in grocery stores here in New, England.


Food in My Ear This Week

Food History and the Food Project of Boston Part 1 of 2