Schoep's Ice Cream
From its humble beginnings in 1928, when E.J. Schoephoester started making ice cream in the back of his Madison, Wisconsin, grocery store, Schoep's Ice Cream has had people clamoring for more. Twelve years after that auspicious beginning, P.B. Thomsen, a well-known butter maker from Windsor, Wisconsin, bought into the company and began wholesaling ice cream in 2-1/2 gallon containers. The Schoep's "Home Pak" half-gallon line, familiar to ice cream connoisseurs throughout the midwest, was first introduced after World War II and is still the heart of the Schoep's product line today.
Schoep's, a family-owned business, has been a family affair for the Thomsens for seven decades. Current company president, Paul Thomsen, started working at the plant when he was nine. In the 1940s, during his earliest employment, he made popsicles at the rate of 40 cents an hour which was shared with four other workers. Today there are six Thomsens working at the Madison headquarters--Paul, his brother Les, and their sons, John and Eric. Alan and Rich Thomsen are the sons of Walter Thomsen, who recently retired.
And the Thomsens are not the only family working at Schoep's; husband and wife teams, daughters and granddaughters work side by side. "We encourage family members to work here," Thomsen says, "because I look at the company as my second family."
Schoep's made more than 12 million gallons of ice cream last year. That's nearly a quarter of a billion scoops of frozen fun. "Ice cream crosses all generations, it's a fun food to share and create happy memories," Thomsen says. Schoep's also manufactures frozen yogurt, lite ice cream, frozen custard, sherbet and novelties. Considering its modest start in 1928, the Thomsen family is proud of Schoep's Ice Cream's current ranking as Wisconsin's largest independent ice cream manufacturer.
During its 75th anniversary year, Schoep's introduced the Birthday Cake flavor, consisting of vanilla ice cream swirled with blue whipped cream ribbons and confetti cake pieces. Schoep's also designed a unique Home Pak container for the commemorative 75th Anniversary flavor to resemble the retro look of its ice cream packaging in the late 1920s and early 1930s. "This is a special milestone for us," Thomsen notes. "We wanted to do something out of the norm that we could share with everyone."