In honor of its 95th year in business, Perry’s Ice Cream is celebrating with the release of a limited-edition anniversary flavor fitting of its hometown in western New York, Sponge Candy.
Sponge Candy is caramel sugar flavored ice cream with caramelized sugar swirls and sponge candy pieces. Similar to the chicken wing, sponge candy has a cult-like following among Buffalonians, according to Perry’s.
“This summer we introduced Sponge Candy at our ice cream stands and the consumer response has been tremendous,” said Bob Denning, president and CEO. “When we began discussing a 95th flavor, Sponge Candy was the top choice to honor both four generations of ice cream craftsmanship and our community that has supported us for almost a century.”
Perry’s beginnings date back to 1918, a time when H. Morton Perry, a broom maker by trade, seized his American dream by purchasing a horse-drawn milk route in the village of Akron. On his first day of business, Morton delivered 29 gallons of farm fresh milk to the homes of his new customers.
During the Great Depression, Morton was asked by the cafeteria manager at Akron Central School to supply ice cream to the children as a treat. Morton responded with his usual eagerness and entrepreneurial spirit.
The first batch of Perry’s Ice Cream was cooked on the kitchen stove using his mother’s family recipe. Morton, with the help of his 17-year-old son Marlo, would freeze the mix in a hand-churned ice and salt freezer. Marlo would deliver it when he went to school the next day.
“You never know until after it happens, that moment that will create your legacy,” said Brian Perry, EVP, vice chair and fourth-generation Perry family member. “For my great-grandfather that moment there at the kitchen stove would come to define who we are, even in today’s fast-paced business world. He is known for saying ‘make sure we put enough of the good’ stuff in our products.’ Ninety-five years later, that is still our company and my family’s promise for everything we do.”
As demand grew, Morton applied the same principles that made his milk sales successful. He increased his production capacity from the two-gallon, hand-churned freezer to an electric five-gallon batch freezer and began to deliver ice cream to local stores, restaurants and schools—offering exceptional service.
Today, Perry’s is one of the largest ice cream producers in New York State, led by the fourth generation of the Perry family. With more than 330 associates, the company makes approximately 500 different items totaling more than 12 million gallons per year.
Sponge Candy is now available in grocers’ freezer sections in locations across New York State, western Pennsylvania, northeastern Ohio, Vermont and Virginia.