Pierre’s Ice Cream with French Vanilla Leading the Way is Truly Magnifique

Pierre’s Ice Cream Company has been dishing up gourmet products for seventy-five years! Dedicated to manufacturing and distributing the highest quality ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, sorbet and novelties, Pierre’s commitment to quality remains unchanged.

The Pierre’s Ice Cream Shop opened its doors in 1932 in Cleveland at a chic E. 82nd St. and Euclid Ave. location. Its gourmet ice creams were prepared fresh each day in the back of the store and sold by the cone, cup or hand packed for take home. The company founder, Alexander “Pierre” Basset, dreamed of marketing a premium ice cream which would be unsurpassed. Thus the name “Pierre’s,” and the creamy, indulgent recipe that is still used today.

Popularity for Pierre’s delicious products grew rapidly. The little shop quickly began cranking out its specialty ice creams for restaurants, country clubs, and gourmet markets. It didn’t take long for Pierre’s to outgrow its small space on Euclid Ave.

Sol J. Roth acquired Pierre’s Ice Cream in 1960 and led the company through numerous expansions and relocations, each time into larger, more efficient manufacturing facilities. With each move, though, Pierre’s always chose to remain within three miles of its original location… right in the heart of Cleveland, as part of its commitment to the community.

The first retail product that Pierre’s produced was its pint. French Vanilla, Swiss Chocolate and Strawberry comprised the entire assortment, and were sold through local grocery stores. An updated version of the original, eye-catching design is still used today to remind consumers that Pierre’s is dedicated to upholding the high quality recipes developed at the original ice cream shop.

Pierre’s assortment of products has grown through the years. Presently, there are over 235 different products/flavors that bear the Pierre’s name. The company also manufactures private label lines, and distributes many of the national brands of ice cream.

Producing kosher products was always a priority at Pierre’s, and in the early 1980’s the company sought the supervision of the Orthodox Union.

“OU certification has played an important role at our company, contributing to our reputation for high quality and customer service,” declared Laura Hindulak, Director of Marketing. “Rabbi Benjamin Stein has worked with our company since the early days of our supervision, and has been extremely helpful through the years. We also enjoy our dealings with Rabbi Michael Coleman and Rabbi Moshe Heimowitz,” remarked Shelley Roth, Pierre’s president. Shelley was recruited by her father to join the company in 1979; she became President in 1991, giving Sol Roth the opportunity to semi-retire.

Pierre’s original, classic recipes are daily reminders of the company’s dedication to quality, explains Ms. Hindulak. That dedication influences the company’s focus on the future as it develops new business opportunities and continues to be innovative and sensitive to consumers’ changing needs. Unique flavors, delicious healthful ice cream alternatives such as Pierre’s Sorbet (pareve), soft frozen yogurt, Slender® No Sugar Added Reduced Fat Ice Cream sweetened with Splenda®, sherbet and specialty items like Frosted Smoothies® are ways for Pierre’s to express its creativity, talents, and leadership.

“Given our size, we have the ability to come to market a lot faster than some of our competitors,” says John Pimpo, Pierre’s brand development manager. “In 2001, we created Pierre’s Slender®, a line of no-sugar-added (NSA) products. The focus was not only to address the growing ‘waist watcher’ community and folks who wanted to eat healthier,” Mr. Pimpo says of the Slender® NSA products, which have 30 to 50 percent less fat than the brand’s premium ice cream. “There are 17 million diabetics out there. It’s so refreshing to get letters from consumers who have said, “I have never been able to eat an ice cream product in my life.To be able to enjoy your product in moderation has been a godsend.”

In addition to its Slender and frozen yogurt products, Pierre’s plays the wellness card with its Pure Fruit Sherbet, Naturally Fat Free Sorbet and specialty items like Frosted Smoothies®.

Pierre’s Sorbet, available in six flavors of quarts (Lemon, Peach, Raspberry, Strawberry, Passion Fruit and Chocolate) is a special line of products that has great appeal in the kosher community because it is pareve. The sorbets are premium products, prepared with pure fruit purees and rich, dark cocoas.

The company attended Kosherfest for the first time in November of 2006 where it sampled the sorbets to over 8,500 attendees. At the show, Pierre’s Peach Sorbet won “Best New Dessert.” Pierre’s sales team is currently following up on leads from the show, and hopes to have Pierre’s Sorbet in distribution in many more states and countries in 2007.

Of course, leading the pack is still the Pierre’s Premium Ice Cream line, which has grown from its original three flavors to more than 35.The line is anchored by French Vanilla, which has consistently remained the company’s most popular flavor. Butter Pecan, Neapolitan, Chocolate, Strawberry and Cherry Vanilla hold true to tradition, while concoctions like Everything but the Kitchen Sink®, Ice Cream Sandwich and Nuts about Buckeyes satisfy consumers’ quests for variety.

Shelley Roth has her own thoughts about why her family’s company is special. “I think it’s a pretty amazing story that the company started as an ice cream shop. Now it produces multimillions of gallons of ice cream and distributes millions of gallons and scoops and dozens of novelties,” she says. “We’ve done the right things at the right time. We’ve invested in our people and our facilities, and our technology. And most of all, we have never shied away from our most important feature, which is quality. Throughout our company – it is quality products, quality people, quality dealings. I think that’s pretty incredible.”

OU Kosher Staff