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Made in WNY: Perry's Ice Cream

Akron, NY (WBEN) - Throughout Western New York, everybody knows the name Perry's Ice Cream.

But did you know that Perry's, which is now celebrating its 95th anniversary, almost never got in to the ice cream business?

"The company was established in 1918, and we started making ice cream in 1932 when the local high school asked us for it," said Eva Balazs, Perry's Director of Marketing. "We were in the dairy business, it was a delivery route from 1918 to later, but the ice cream did start based on that initial request from the school.

Balazs says she isn't sure if the cafeteria manager at Akron High School knew about the ice cream recipe that Perry's founder H. Morton Perry learned from his mother, but that's the recipe that was used to make ice cream on Perry's kitchen stove.
Hear Brian Mazurowski's extended interview with Balazs HERE
"It started with just a school, but as word got around, more people were demanding Perry's ice cream because it was a high quality ice cream just as it is today. Slowly, distribution started to develop."

In the 1950's, Perry's developed their signature red logo, and was one of the first companies to package ice cream in a round pint container. Today, instead of making ice cream on a stove top, Perry's makes their products at a large facility at One Ice Cream Plaza in Akron where over 300 employees work to churn out tons of the dairy treat.

"It is quite an elaborate process," Balazs said about making the ice cream. "We get 98% of our dairy from local farms within about 50 miles from Akron, and we receive dairy products almost daily." Balazs says that the freshest milk yields the best ice cream.

Making the ice cream is nothing short of a science. "You make the mix first, that is really the most important part of our ice cream. We make the Perry's mix, and once that is ready it will get flavored. Then inclusions are added, which we like to add quite a few."

There are lots of inclusions because there are lots of flavors. Perry's Ice cream boasts over 85 flavors from Mint-Ting-A-Ling to Cherry Panda Paws, and more flavors are being added every season.

Where do the ideas for new flavors come from?

"The ideas come from a wide variety of sources. They can come from our research and development team, they can come from our vendors. We get suggestions from our consumers, from our team members, pretty much from everywhere."

And As Perry's adds more flavors, they're hoping to slowly expand in to more markets. Balazs says they are taking a slow approach to expanding the business, and like to introduce their products at local ice cream stands where consumers can get a taste of what Perry's is all about. If the ice cream agrees with the local palates, demand to carry it in grocery stores will follow.

No matter how big Perry's grows in the future, you can rest assured that they plan on staying right here.

"It is a matter of great pride to our owners. They are the fourth generation running the business here in Akron where it was established. They like their heritage here, they support the community, everybody knows them. Everybody knows everybody here in Akron. It's like a family."


Filed Under :  
Locations : AkronNew YorkWestern New York
People : Cherry Panda PawsEva BalazsH. Morton Perry
07/10/2014 4:54PM
Made in WNY: Perry's Ice Cream
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07/11/2014 9:15AM
Perry's Ice Cream
My favorite flavor is White Lightning !! mmmmmm
07/12/2014 7:09PM
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