When co-founders and childhood friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield started Ben & Jerry’s out of a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont, in 1978, they just wanted to make good ice cream. Two of America’s … One of the best-known purveyors is Ben & Jerry’s, the brand synonymous with funky flavors like Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey as well as a groovy Vermont vibe. Official site for Ben & Jerry's super premium ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, and non-dairy. You could say that ice cream runs in their veins. Bennett Cohen (born March 18, 1951) is an American businessman, activist, and philanthropist. Ben & Jerry’s is a staple in the ice cream aisle with best-selling flavors like Half-Baked and Cherry Garcia. Ben and Jerry also made it a point to connect with the community, hosting a free film festival and giving away free scoops on the first anniversary of the store, a tradition that still continues. The Foundation receives 7.5% of all Ben & Jerry's pre-tax profits and distributes funds to organizations such as the Anti Displacement Project. Cohen became a prominent supporter of Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries. "The chocolate … An image purportedly showing the founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, holding a sign reading “We Hate Cops” was widely circulated on social media in October 2016: After all, both Ben Cohen and Jerry … The business has now grown to about 45 franchises nationwide, Greenfield said. Today they own one of the nation's most popular ice cream franchises. At first, the pair thought about making bagels but decided the necessary equipment was too expensive. Ben & Jerry's distinctive style of ice cream was developed to compensate for Cohen's anosmia, as he kept adding larger and larger chunks to the ice cream to satisfy his need for texture in food. In 1981 they expanded the operation, opening the first franchise store in Shelburne, VT. [3] He also worked as a McDonald's cashier, Pinkerton guard, deliverer of pottery wheels, mop-boy at Jamesway and Friendly's, assistant superintendent, ER clerk, and taxi driver, before settling on work as a craft teacher at a private school for emotionally-disturbed adolescents. Ben & Jerry’s faced off with Häagen-Dazs over distribution rights, leading to lawsuits against Häagen-Dazs’ parent, the Pillsbury Company, in the mid-1980s. Who Owns Ben & Jerry's? Signature flavors were unveiled throughout the 1980s—including New York Super Fudge Chunk and Cherry Garcia—and by 1987, sales were at $32 million. Cohen dropped out of school. Upon graduating, he returned to New York to work as a lab technician, while applying to medical school without success. Ben & Jerry's founders unveil a second ice cream inspired by Bernie Sanders, with a chocolate topping to represent 'the wealth that has risen to the top 1%' and a strong toffee 'backbone' They initially intended to start a bagel business, but found the equipment costs prohibitive and switched to ice cream instead. Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of political activism under founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who were arrested in 2016 for protesting against money in politics. The company’s path hasn’t always been as smooth as its ice cream blends. You could say that ice cream runs in their veins. Peace, Love, & Ice Cream. The founders of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream know they're most likely about to spend a night in cold jail cell, but they're totally down to follow Jane Fonda's lead in protesting climate change. Ben & Jerry’s is known for its unconventional ice cream flavors, but now it’s attempting to reshape the way we eat the frozen treat. Cohen also oversaw TrueMajority and Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities. This unique arrangement allowed Ben & Jerry’s to continue to run its business in a socially conscious manner, which had been a trademark of the brand since its inception. After moving to North Carolina for a few years, Jerry reunited with Ben in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and they decided to go into the food business together. Ice cream is a sweet treat that few can resist. One of the best-known purveyors is Ben & Jerry’s, the brand synonymous with funky flavors like Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey as well as a groovy Vermont vibe. Just Ask Ben & Jerry's, Patagonia and Starbucks", "Ben Cohen Endorses Kucinich for President", "Bernie Sanders Lands a Sweet Endorsement From Ben & Jerry's Co-Founder - ABC News", "Ben & Jerry's founder unveils new 'Bernie's Yearning' ice cream flavor", "Ben & Jerry's Co-Founders Arrested During Protest : People.com", "Bernie Sanders announces new national co-chairs: Our Revolution President and former Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner, Rep. Ro Khanna, San Juan Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and Ben & Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ben_Cohen_(businessman)&oldid=978943348, American chief executives of food industry companies, Articles with dead external links from July 2017, Articles with permanently dead external links, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Cohen was honored by the New York Open Center in 2000 for his "leadership in pioneering socially responsible business.". Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, founders of Ben and Jerry's ice cream franchise, originally opened a homemade ice cream parlor in an abandoned gas station in Burlington,Vt. [14], Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign, 2004 Democratic Party presidential primaries, 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, "Ben Cohen -- Co-Founder Of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream", "Calhoun grads Ben and Jerry return to Long Island", "The Nose That Never Knows: The miseries of losing one's sense of smell", "Pure Profit - For Small Companies That Stress Social Values as Much as the Bottom Line, Growing Up Hasn't Been an Easy Task. In 2012, he helped launch the Stamp Stampede campaign to stamp messages on the nation's currency in support of passing a constitutional amendment to help overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and reduce the influence of private corporations on politics. [6], As Ben & Jerry's gradually grew into a nationwide business and one of the largest ice cream companies in the U.S., Cohen turned his new-found wealth and prominence toward a variety of social causes, generally through the Ben & Jerry's Foundation. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were childhood friends from Merrick, New York. In 1977, Cohen decided to go into business with his old friend Jerry Greenfield, and in May of the next year, the two men opened Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream Parlor in Burlington, Vermont. Ben and Jerry had become the brand’s icons. Ben & Jerry’s founders: eat the rich with #BerniesYearning. The firm released a line of “Smooth, No Chunks!” flavors to capture the segment of the market that preferred less funky flavors. Jerry started on a more traditional path. I’m Your CEO” contest, the company in 1995 selected Robert Holland, a veteran of McKinsey & Co. Ironically, Holland was found by a search firm, not through the contest. They decided Burlington, Vt., was an ideal location for a scoop shop because it was a college town without an ice cream parlor. They initially intended to start a bagel business, but found the equipment costs prohibitive and switched to ice cream instead. Ben & Jerry’s co-founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, have long been vocal about social justice causes, both through their ice cream flavors and their own activism. How Did the Delivery Service Federal Express Become FedEx? They chose Burlington as a location because it was a prominent college townwhich, at the time, had no ice cream shop. Oct 2008 – May 2013 4 years 8 months. By year's end 1988, with the company operating shops in 18 states, Ben and Jerry earned the distinctive award of U.S. Small Business Persons of the Year from President Ronald Reagan. Police arrested the co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream after they took part in a protest against the influence of money in politics. [1], Cohen was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in the town of Merrick, New York, on Long Island by Jewish parents Frances and Irving. Executive Assistant Chelsea Piers. The company is not involved.”[11]. In late 1999, the firm announced it had received notice of interest from other large firms, and in 2000 international food giant Unilever purchased the Ben & Jerry’s brand for $326 million, although the deal called for Ben & Jerry’s to be operated separately from Unilever’s other ice cream brands. They chose Burlington as a location because it was a prominent college town which, at the time, had no ice cream shop. The original scoop shop became a community favorite thanks to its rich ice cream and creative flavors. The founders of Ben and Jerry's were among hundreds arrested at a demonstration in Washington, D.C., protesting the influence of money on politics. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were childhood friends born four days apart in 1951 in Brooklyn, New York. The Balance Small Business is part of the, An original scoop shop made of recycled materials, Creation of a “Green Team" in 1989, focusing on, The use of hormone-free milk in its products, A commitment to reducing solid and dairy waste, recycling, and water and energy conservation at the company’s facilities. The founders of Ben and Jerry's were among hundreds arrested at a demonstration in Washington, D.C., protesting the influence of money on politics. In 1983, the company opened its first non-Vermont franchise in Maine and signed a deal with a Boston distribution company. Cohen has severe anosmia, a lack of a sense of smell or taste, and so relied on "mouth feel" and texture to provide variety in his diet. All new flavors were invented by Jerry, usually without any test marketing. In fact, it’s widely seen as a way to do the opposite, and that has a lot to do with groundwork laid by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the founders of Ben & Jerry’s … This led to the company's tradem… He supported Dennis Kucinich in the 2004 Democratic Party presidential primaries. F orty years ago, when Ben & Jerry’s opened for their first day on May 5, 1978, the ice cream scene in the United States didn’t look quite like it does today.. They took a $5 course on ice-cream making and in 1978 opened the first Ben & Jerry’s in a converted Burlington gas station. [7], He is a vocal supporter of Democratic candidates and progressive causes. [5], Cohen resigned as Chief Executive Officer of Ben & Jerry's in 1996. May 2013 – Present 7 years 2 months. Ben & Jerry's co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in Burlington, Vermont. This page was last edited on 17 September 2020, at 21:14. Ben & Jerry's has managed to retain and grow the commitment to social justice that was baked into the firm by its founders, CEO Jostein Solheim says. During his lab tech days, he shared a Manhattan apartment with Ben. In 1977, Cohen decided to go into business with his old friend Jerry Greenfield, and in May of the next year, the two men opened Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream Parlor in Burlington, Vermont. Holland’s hiring brought the company to a crossroads. Ben Cohen, left, and Jerry Greenfield, the founders of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, stand outside the White House during a climate rally in Washington, DC in 2019. After high school, he attended and dropped out of various colleges in the Northeast, eventually leaving his studies altogether to teach pottery on a working farm in New York's Adirondack region, where he also dabbled in ice cream-making. Over the next decade, Cohen pursued his interest in pottery and dropped out of college after his sophomore year. [2] In his senior year, Cohen found work as an ice cream man before leaving to attend Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.[1]. Holland stepped down in 1996. Jerry Greenfield, left, and Ben Cohen, founders of Ben & Jerry’s, scoop ice cream cones during their 20th anniversary party at a shop in Burlington, Vt. While teaching at the Highland Community School, Cohen began experimenting with making his own ice cream. By David Downs on January 26, 2016 at 10:11 AM. The company has spoken out about perceived injustices pretty much ever since childhood friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield founded it in a Burlington, Vermont, garage in 1978. Some 1980s flagship flavors include Chunky Monkey, Rainforest Crunch, and Economic Crunch, scoops of which Ben & Jerry’s served up for free on Wall Street following the stock market crash of Oct. 19, 1987. Ben & Jerry’s had always had a strict pay-scale ratio for its management, which it had to break when hiring Holland. Print; Open joyfully! There was concern that the company would lose its informal hierarchy and unique culture under Holland’s leadership. Ben & Jerry’s was sold to the massive conglomerate Unilever in 2000 and the company has since distanced itself from the political activism of its co-founders. As the company’s rapid growth continued, it became obvious to the founders that they needed someone with more business acumen to keep the business running. Although Greenfield finished college, he found himself unable to make his way into medical school. Some examples of this mission include: Inspiring Quotes About Social Change and Business From Ben and Jerry, Here is a Look at the History of Franchising in the United States, 3 Successful LGBT Food Entrepreneurs in Ice Cream, How to Write a Meaningful Mission Statement, Read These Mission Statements From Top Food and Beverage Chains, Learn How Much It Costs to Open Up a Pinkberry Franchise Location, Great Snacks Ideas for Your Afternoon Business Meetings, Wendy's Franchise History, Information and Costs, If You've Got Food Franchise Fever, This Could Be Your Sweet Spot, Laws and Regulations Affecting Independent Contractor Status, 10 Ideas to Inspire Your Next Food Truck Theme. Cohen was a US Small Business Person of the Year in 1988. Ben & Jerry’s declined to change the name, but because the flavor was a limited edition, it was soon given a spot in the dejected flavor graveyard. The following year, Perry Odak became the new CEO, driving sales that year to nearly $174 million. In 1980, the duo began making pints to sell to local grocers. After graduating high school, he attended Oberlin College to study medicine, working as an ice cream scooper in the school’s cafeteria. [4] Ben & Jerry's became popular in Burlington. Ben Cohen, founder of the True Majority, an organization formed in response to 9-11, and co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s. While the super-premium ice cream market was growing, so was the competition. In 1977, Cohen and Greenfield completed a correspondence course on ice cream making from Pennsylvania State University's creamery. Ben Cohen, left, and Jerry Greenfield, co-founders of Ben & Jerry's. Furthermore, Ben & Jerry’s was going through a trying time in the marketplace. Ben & Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen was among approximately 300 people arrested as part of the Democracy Awakening protests that converged on the nation's capital Monday, April 18, 2016. Although vanilla is the most popular flavor in the U.S., there is a seemingly endless number of varieties and manufacturers. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, longtime supporters of US Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, created the flavor in honor of the presidential contender's 2020 campaign. The mission of the Ben & Jerry's Foundation is to engage Ben & Jerry's employees in philanthropy and social change work; to give back to our Vermont communities; and to support grassroots activism and community organizing for social and environmental justice around the country. Ben & Jerry's distinctive style of ice cream was developed to compensate for Co… [8][9][10] Cohen debuted a special ice cream flavor called "Bernie's Yearning" on January 25, 2016 out of support for Sanders. The company’s sale to British-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever ( UL ) in 2000 has not prevented it from speaking out on issues such as racial injustice, climate change and refugee rights. In 2008, he initially supported John Edwards followed by Barack Obama. He is a co-founder of the ice cream company Ben & Jerry's. Assistant to the Founders Ben & Jerry's. But over the next decade, they began to feel that the company should try to have a positive impact beyond its product. Instead, they settled on ice cream. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the co-founders of popular American ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s, were arrested on Monday as part of the “Democracy Awakening” protests on … The co-founders of Ben & Jerry's ice cream aren't stopping their protest against money in politics any time soon, despite getting arrested outside the U.S. Capitol over the weekend. The founders of Ben & Jerry's ice cream company might stand to benefit personally from the pending tax legislation in Congress. MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The founders of Ben & Jerry's ice cream in Bernie Sanders' home state are putting their ice cream expertise to work to support seven congressional candidates in the midterm elections who they call progressive. Fair Trade certification guarantees that the farmers who grow the vanilla, cocoa and coffee beans get a fair price for their harvest, enabling them to reinvest in their land and communities. Ben & Jerry’s historically outsourced some production to Dreyer’s in order to reach customers in the Western U.S. Now that Dreyer’s was becoming more of a competitor, Ben & Jerry’s had to worry about its dependence on a competitor for manufacturing and distribution. Steve Liss/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images After allowing customers to apply for the job in the “Yo! Ben & Jerry's released a statement disavowing connection or support for the product, saying "This was created by Ben as a citizen. Ben & Jerry's continues to support Fair Trade efforts started with Coffee, Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz in 1996 by adding Vanilla and Chocolate to the line-up. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were childhood friends born four days apart in 1951 in Brooklyn, New York. Cohen first met and befriended his future business partner Jerry Greenfield in a seventh grade gym class in 1963. One reason for the quick popularity of Ben & Jerry’s was its unique flavor combinations. Although the company had made its name with wacky flavors and chunky mix-ins, the most popular ice cream flavor in America was—as it remains—plain vanilla. On April 18, 2016, Cohen was arrested, with Jerry Greenfield, while at a Democracy Awakening protest in Washington, D.C.[12][13], On February 21, 2019, Cohen was named a national co-chair of Bernie Sanders' 2020 campaign. The company also operates more than 550 … Häagen-Dazs and Dreyer’s were major players. During his senior year of high school, Ben drove an ice cream truck.