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Origins Of Top Businesses: Why Ben & Jerry’s Sells Ice Cream And Not Bagels

This section of our site is called “Origins Of Top Businesses.”  

It features interesting facts about the early years of well-known businesses.

These facts are given to you for fun and inspiration.
Fun because how many top businesses started out is really surprising.
Inspiring because it will help you as a business owner see that if they can do it, so can you.

Now for today’s facts:

the history of ben and jerry's ice cream

  • Ben & Jerry’s was originally going to be a bagel company.
  • Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield ended up changing their minds when they found out how much it would cost to get all the needed equipment for making bagels.
  • Instead they decided to split the cost of a $5 correspondence course on ice cream-making from Penn State University.
  • Ben Cohen has anosmia (an inability to perceive odors) and so relied on “mouth feel“. That’s why the company has it’s trademarked “chunks” mixed in with their ice cream.
  • On May 5, 1978, with a $12,000 investment they opened an ice cream parlor in a renovated gas station in downtown Burlington, Vermont, but they found out they weren’t making any profits.  Because of this, they closed down after only two months.
  • But they learned a lot and by 1979, began wholesaling pints of ice cream out of Ben’s VW campervan.  An the rest, as they say, is history!

Source:,, and Wikipedia


Photo by slgckgc

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About Scott Aughtmon (1864 Articles)
I’m author of the book 51 Content Marketing Hacks. I am also a regular contributor to and I am the person behind the popular infographic 21 Types of Content We Crave. I’m a business strategist, consultant, content creation specialist, and speaker. I’ve been studying effective marketing and business methods (both online and offline) since 1999. ===> If you would like to see ways that we could work together, then please click here to learn more.