301. House of Flavors

HOUSE OF FLAVORS


The House of Flavors ice cream restaurant has iconic association with Ludington, Michigan. Hand-dipped locally made ice cream is a universe attraction and this place is over-the-top for thousands of visitors and local residents where on a warm sunny day customers patiently wait in a long circuitous line for their turn to enjoy a yummy treat.


Founded in 1948 when Bob Neal Sr. purchased half interest in what was then named Miller Dairy, the business processed milk and buttermilk, butter, cottage cheese and five flavors of ice cream – vanilla, chocolate, lemon, French vanilla and blue moon. The partners soon changed the company’s name to the Park Dairy because of its location on West Ludington Avenue adjacent to Ludington City Park.


Life magazine ran a photograph of Park Dairy in its September 21, 1953 issue showing Ludington-area school children shooting malt-dipped straw wrappers to the ceiling.


In 1961 Bob Neal Jr. graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Dairy Technology and rejoined his father as a partner and plant manager of Park Dairy. At this time the owners began to remodel the old bottling plant turning it into a modern ice cream production plant capable of producing 600 gallons of ice cream an hour and in a greater variety of flavors. In 1964 the corporation adopted the name House of Flavors symbolizing the transformational change they had made.


Evolutionary growth continued leading to an emphasis on sales through grocery store distributors and ultimately co-packing for other companies. This business strategy has proven to be the most successful. In 1992 Bob Jr.’s stepson, Jeff, entered the business and is the current president of the manufacturing company. Through good business practices the company has continued to increase sales and to be a stable employer for its 150 employees.


Today, the House of Flavors produces 24 million gallons of ice cream a year, enough to fill 36 Olympic-size swimming pools. Translated to the day you are listening and watching this narrative, the plant will produce 100,000 gallons of ice cream! This plant is Michigan’s largest ice cream manufacture under one roof and the State’s biggest private-label ice cream manufacturer. With 36 flavors to choose from, how big a cone do you want?