Monday, December 4, 2017

Bennett Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s Homemade ice cream has been pleasing customers since 1978. It is one of the most famous products to come from Vermont.

Bennett Cohen was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1951 and grew up in Merrick, Long Island. His parents were Irving and Frances Cohen.

As a high-school senior he got a job selling ice-cream from a truck in various neighborhoods in Merrick on Long Island where he grew up.

He eventually enrolled at Colgate University, but dropped out after a year and a half. He then attended Skidmore College, where he studied pottery and jewelry making.

After leaving Skidmore, he returned to New York City and continue studying ceramics while working a variety of part-time jobs including taxi-driver, delivery person and hospital emergency-room clerk.

In 1977, Ben left the school, and decided to go into business with an old high school friend, Jerry Greenfield.

They planned make and sell bagels, but when they learned how expensive the machinery would be, Ben and Jerry decided to try selling ice cream instead. So they took a correspondence course from Pennsylvania State University in ice-cream making.

A few months later they were selling Ben & Jerry’s homemade ice cream from a converted gas station in downtown Burlington. In 1981 the company opened a larger packing facility in South Burlington as well as its first franchise store in nearby Shelburne.
Bennett Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
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