It all started in July of 2012 while browsing the Grand Rapids Craigslist. I wasn't looking for anything in particular when a big, shiny, aluminum ice cream truck popped up for sale. The family loaded up the van and we headed down to GR to just "look" at it it. We had no intentions of actually buying it, we just wanted to take it for a test ride.
Well, the next thing ya know ol' Chris is the ice cream man. We came home the very next day with our new family member and our business was born. We worked the streets of Whitehall for the rest of the summer selling treats to all the neighborhood kids (and adults!)
That winter I thought that I could come up with better stuff than what we were selling on the truck, and Ice Box Brand was born. My wife Molly came up with the name, we liked it because it is old-timey and sounds very comforting. I worked on dozens of different flavor combinations and had to figure out a way to hand-make ice cream bars. Our kids Nick, Lainey and Lili were the official taste testers, along with some friends and family.
When spring time came we had our menu, we narrowed it down to the 8 best ideas and I now needed a place to make them. We eventually came upon the Starting Block in Hart, MI. The Starting Block is an incubator kitchen and the staff there were extremely helpful in getting my business licensed and legal.
The original idea was to produce the Ice Box Bars to sell off of the ice cream truck on the streets and at special events. But, when we were talking with one of the owners of the Hokey Pokey in Whitehall, she had the idea of selling the bars in their store also. We dressed up a freezer to look like an old ice box , set up inside the Hokey Pokey , and it actually did quite well. This gave us the idea to sell them in places other than just our truck. By the end of 2013 we had 6 locations selling our bars and many more interested for the next summer.
We made all of our bars in 2013 at the Starting Block which worked well for the small volume we were doing, but to do this on a bigger scale, we needed our own kitchen. In March of 2014 we moved into our own place right here in Whitehall.
This year we are expecting at least 25 locations to be selling our bars from Ludington all the way down the coast to Saugatuck/Douglas area. In the Grand Rapids area, the West MI Whitecaps will be carrying 2 of our bars in their concession stands and ice cream carts.
Look for our freezers in some of your favorite stores. If they don't carry us, let the owners know that they should!
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