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How Tom Carvel created America's First Ice Cream Franchise
Carvel Ice Cream History
Our Fresh Story
Carvel was created with the understanding that people always crave a happy escape. When Tom Carvel bought his first ice cream truck, his goal was to make his customers smile. However, with any business venture there are bumps in the road. For Tom, that bump caused a flat tire. Most people might have closed up shop, but Tom Carvel kept right on selling and found a remarkable opportunity.
He realized that instead of disliking the softer, melting frozen treats, people wanted more. They enjoyed the creamier, lighter taste. Soft serve ice cream was born. Tom not only invented a new treat but established his first shoppe right there where his truck had broken down. That store would be the first of a worldwide network and thousands of little occasions & big celebrations that make life enjoyable. It was the start of Carvel… America’s Freshest Ice Cream.
Carvel has always led the industry
Innovation is a part of our culture. From the moment Tom Carvel invented soft ice cream to today, we have constantly come up with new flavors, cakes, treats, machines, ideas and more.
Thomas A. Carvel is born in Athens, Greece on July 14th.
Tom Carvel begins selling ice cream from his vending truck.
Nation’s first retail ice cream company is founded.
Carvel Corporation is formed. Tom Carvel patents a “no air pump” super-low temperature ice cream.
Carvel® is the first to franchise a retail ice cream shop in the United States.
The brand introduces the Flying Saucer® and celebrates its 100th shoppe.
Carvel® starts selling ice cream novelties at the first ice cream supermarket ever.
Carvel® launches a complete line of all-kosher products.
Carvel® is sold to affiliates of Roark Capital Group.
The company sets the Guinness World Record for Largest Ice Cream Scoop Pyramid.
FOCUS Brands is created.
Carvel® adds Sundae Dashers® to its menu.
Branded Sundae Dashers® are added to the menu.
The brand celebrates its 80th Anniversary.
Fudgie the Whale® celebrates his 40th birthday.
How It's Made
In an imported, pre-packaged, flash frozen world, true freshness stands out. That’s why we have always made everything right in the shoppe. It may take time, effort and passion, but the end result is a smooth, creamy flavor that can’t be matched anywhere else.
Tom Carvel in His Own Words
Tom was the first CEO to appear in his company’s commercials. People to this day remember the gravely, down-to-earth voice and smile. Listen to Tom Carvel for yourself:
Tom Carvel was as inventive with Carvel’s marketing as he was with the shoppes’ new cakes and flavors.
Every Wednesday is Sundae at your Carvel store. You know something else, every Wednesday our participating Carvel stores will give you a free sundae for each one that you purchase. Buy one get one free. The regular soft ice cream sundae, the nutty royal which is backed 4 to a box for take-home, or the Sundae Dinner—buy one get one free. Visit your participating Carvel stores on Wednesdays please. Thank you.
Tom Carvel’s goal was to create a Father’s Day “Whale of a Dad” cake. Fudgie turned out to be not only a popular dessert, but an iconic spokesman for the entire company.
[MUSIC] Fudgie the Whale is back. That’s a whale of a cake for a whale of a dad at your participating Carvel ice cream store. Yep, and this year your local Carvel dealer makes him loaded with fudge and nuts. And you can get Fudgie with an ocean to serve twenty people. But if you want to send Fudgie the Whale to a whale of a dad, anywhere in a Carvel territory, you call the phone number that you see here. Thank you. And have a happy day Dad.
Carvel has always been known for their fun characters. Whether it was Captain Carvel in the 1973 comic book or the iconic Fudgie the Whale.