From a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont, to far-off places with names we sometimes mispronounce, what began over 30 years ago with 2 guys creating otherworldly ice cream flavors has turned into a tastebud-boggling odyssey of Ben & Jerry's desserts served around the world. As for the 2 guys who started it all, their story starts way before that:
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield grew up in Merrick, Long Island. They first met in junior high school, where they struck up a lasting friendship.
Jerry finished college but couldn’t get into any med schools; Ben got into several colleges but dropped out of every one of them. They realized they weren't getting anywhere doing what they were doing. But they knew they had to do something, so they decided to start their own food business.
Neither of them knew anything about starting a business. But they knew a lot about eating – especially ice cream – so it made sense (to them, anyway) to open an ice cream shop.
Soooo, after splitting the cost of a $5 correspondence course on ice cream-making from Penn State University, they combined their $8000 life savings with a $4000 bank loan, leased an old gas station building in Burlington, Vermont, and opened for business on May 5, 1978.
Using an old-fashioned ice cream freezer, they began churning out all the rich & creamy, fun & chunky ice cream flavors they’d always dreamed about, flavors loaded with all their favorite chunks of fruits, nuts, candies, and cookies.
Soon there were long lines stretching out the door of the old gas station, as more and more folks clamored for a taste of Ben & Jerry's flavor creations.
Their ice cream was such a hit, it wasn’t long before they began selling it to local restaurants, then grocery stores and supermarkets throughout Vermont and beyond. Way beyond.
And the rest, as they say, is history. (Or, as we say, it’s a long, strange dip, most of which just won’t fit on this page!)