The following story was written by Heinen’s partner Alex Miles.
Campfire Toasted S’mores, Butter Pecan, Strawberry Cheesecake, Mint Chocolate Chip, Sherbet – the list goes on and on. No matter which flavor your heart and taste buds desire, Pierre’s Ice Cream serves up something to satisfy every sweet craving.
Beyond their hundreds of delicious products and flavors, the Pierre’s brand comes with a heritage that’s rich with innovation, customer service and hometown spirit. That’s why we’re proud to feature Pierre’s across our freezer aisle.
“If you look at the Heinen’s and Pierre’s Ice Cream stories, you will see that they’ve followed parallel paths,” says Shelley Roth, President of Pierre’s Ice Cream Company. “Both opened in the early 20th century – in the 1920s and 1930s – as neighborhood businesses that grew with the loyal support of generations of families. We possess shared values that emphasize outstanding quality, excellent service and a dedicated team that attracts passionate customers.”
What else should our shoppers know about Pierre’s? Here’s the inside scoop on this remarkable brand.
(Almost) 90 Years of Continued Growth & Success
Founded by Alexander “Pierre” Basset, the company first opened its doors in Cleveland in 1932 as a small ice cream shop located on Euclid Avenue. While Pierre’s originally offered only three flavors – French Vanilla, Swiss Chocolate and Strawberry – customers lined up to purchase the freshly made ice cream by cone, cup or hand-packed carton.
Over time, the business expanded, developing specialty recipes for restaurants, country clubs and gourmet markets. The continued growth influenced several relocations throughout the decades, ultimately leading to the company’s current headquarters and distribution center in Cleveland’s resurgent Midtown neighborhood in 1995. Staying true to their roots, this location is just one mile west of the original shop.
“We’re very proud of Pierre’s contributions as an original anchor company and investor in Midtown, especially at a time when many businesses felt it wasn’t the place for them,” says Roth. “Originally an abandoned brownfield surrounded by old, underutilized buildings, our current home transformed into a modern, state-of-the-art ice cream factory that houses more than 90 employees. Even better, the entire neighborhood is vibrant and thriving once again.”
Delight with Every Delicious Spoonful
When customers reach for Pierre’s, they can trust that they’re selecting a brand that not only tastes good but contains top-notch ingredients. Each product is finely-crafted at the Midtown headquarters, and the ingredients – whether vanilla extract, cocoas or fruit purees and flavorings – are sourced from the world’s best producers.
“Our ice creams are freshly made using Midwest cream and the highest quality ingredients,” says Roth. “We work carefully with our suppliers to create unique recipes that do not contain artificial flavors and are made using colors from natural sources. Great care and attention go into every single batch.”
Investing in the Community
Pierre’s champions various causes and organizations throughout the Northeast Ohio region. Most recently, our shoppers may remember Pierre’s Hearts for Heroes, a limited-run ice cream line created to raise money for hunger relief during the pandemic. They ultimately raised over $24,000 for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, an organization with which we also share a deep passion for supporting.
“There are so many people who sacrificed and persevered during this challenging time,” says Roth. “It was our pleasure to create something that honored their brave contributions, while also helping those in need.”
Embracing Shifts in Taste & Technology
Many legacy brands struggle to adjust with the times, however Pierre’s has evolved products and business practices to meet customers’ expectations. In regards to the ice cream itself, the company has developed more than 235 flavors and treats to indulge people’s desire for variety.
“Compared to the 1930s, today’s home and grocery freezers accommodate a larger selection of frozen treats,” says Roth. “We’ve followed our customers’ appreciation for unique flavors. While there’s always a strong loyalty to vanilla, chocolate and butter pecan, people love to try new creations.”
In addition to flavors, Pierre’s has broadened product categories, creating various options under the Pierre’s Slender® No Sugar Added Reduced Fat Ice Cream line, as well as lactose free, sorbet and frozen yogurt lines, to name a few.
“Our continued success is built around a focus on customer experience,” adds Roth. “We proactively follow emerging trends and respond to them, which keeps people coming back to Pierre’s freezer doors. There’s something for everyone.”
Generations of Celebration
As a second-generation family business, Pierre’s cherishes the many decades they’ve spent at the top of the ice cream and dessert industry. But nothing is more special than being part of other families’ special moments and celebrations.
“Ice cream is a unique product in that it’s often a part of life’s moments: birthdays, first dates, family gatherings, outings with friends,” says Roth. “The individual experience is behind every treat we make, from inventing fun and delicious flavors, crafting great recipes, searching for the best ingredients – to making each person know that the Pierre’s flavor they just discovered, or have enjoyed their whole lives, was created just for them.”
As a multi-generational family business, ourselves, we proudly feature the Pierre’s brand in our freezer section. The next time you stop in your local store, check out the brand’s latest flavor – or pick up your classic Pierre’s favorites.