Home » Gifford’s Announces Plant Expansion

Gifford’s Announces Plant Expansion


Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 05:13 pm

Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream is expanding the company’s Skowhegan, Maine, factory to meet increased demand for its vintage, handcrafted ice cream.

The $1.6 million, 3,810-s.f. addition and plant renovation will mark the most significant expansion Gifford’s has made to its 48,000-s.f. plant in its 41-year history and will double the ice cream maker’s total production capacity.

According to company officials in August, Gifford’s hit an all-time sales record, with a 12.4 percent sales increase of its quarts and premium bulk flavors—10 percent above the industry average. Company officials attribute this spike in sales to organic growth and say that, by 2016, Gifford’s will be on track to surpass a previous record of 2 million gallons of ice cream sold annually.

“We are deeply honored to be here today marking an important expansion of this modest yet dependable building, which has faithfully served us for four decades,” said John Gifford, the company’s co-owner. “As we look ahead to the next many decades, we feel fortunate to be able to forecast increased demand for our ice cream and a renewed commitment to our hometown of Skowhegan.”

The Skowhegan factory dates to the 1930s when it served as a holding station for local farm milk that was shipped to Boston. In 1974, the building was purchased by the Gifford family from Hunt’s Dairy and was run for many years as a milk company. In 1980, endeavoring to continue a longstanding family tradition, the Gifford family started making ice cream in a corner of the milk plant. Three years later, the Giffords sold the entire fluid milk business to Oakhurst and went solely into making premium ice cream.

The expansion will create additional floor space and allow Gifford’s to bring in two more large steam kettles, a new quart filler and a new shrink wrapper for retail packaging. These additions will let the ice cream maker run two production lines simultaneously.

“The expansion is something we needed in order to grow,” said Gifford. “It basically allows us to operate at faster speeds, create more efficiencies, double our quart-filling capacity from 1 million to 2 million quarts per year, and accommodate the increased need for our homemade bases and ripples.”

Gifford added that the company, which currently employs 37 full-time staff members, hopes to add at least two full-time employees by next summer as part of the expansion. Gifford’s recently hired two new staff members to help with retail sector relations and increasing sales further down the East Coast.

Gifford’s operates five ice cream stands in Maine, makes more than 100 flavors and sells ice cream in more than 1,500 retails outlets from Maine to Virginia and in select states as far west as Illinois. Among the company’s top-selling flavors are Old Fashioned Vanilla, World’s Best Chocolate, Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Low Fat Frozen Yogurt and its signature flavors inspired by Maine tradition: Moose Tracks and Muddy Boots.

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Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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