My brothers, Chris and John Fosselman, shook their heads in amazement when talking about their business, Fosselman’s Ice Cream, celebrating 100 years in the San Gabriel Valley. Sitting in their newly redecorated ice cream parlor, with historic photos and memorabilia of the business lining the freshly painted white walls, they reminisced—about the past and future—of Fosselman’s Ice Cream.
“It’s remarkable. I can’t believe that we actually survived,” said Chris, who quipped, “We should have received the longevity award.”
John, agreed with Chris, and shared the secret of Fosselman’s success: not compromising on quality.
“When something is done right and you stick to your guns and not compromise the quality, it’s rewarding. Having your name on something that is super high quality is gratifying,” said John.
For a 3rd generation business to last 100 years is remarkable nowadays. Chris and John who bought out our dad, Bob Fosselman, and uncles, Jim and Bill Fosselman, 30 years ago, have witnessed a lot of change since taking over the company in 1989.
Fosselman’s manufacturing plant and only retail store is located on Main Street in Alhambra. Housed in a red brick building built in 1905 and sandwiched in between an Acura dealership and a Wells Fargo, Fosselman’s has seen a wave of new immigration through the years, encouraging Chris and John to create flavors indicative of the new demographics.
“We’ve had to adapt to the demographics of the area. The immigrant community is getting their first introduction to ice cream through Fosselman’s.” said John.
Exotic flavors like lychee, red bean, Matcha green tea, taro, black sesame, ginger, macapuno, dulce de leche, horchata, and Oaxacan chocolate, are big hits with the Chinese and Latin community. Community members requested these unique ice cream flavors for their own restaurants and businesses. So, Chris and John listened—developed the flavors—and have never looked back. They continue to sell traditional flavors like mint chip, rocky road, and strawberry, but the colorful flavors continue to draw people in.
“It’s a big part of our take-out business. It has a cross over appeal. We have all of those flavors year round,” said John.
Fosselman’s is rapidly growing its wholesale business, which includes the distribution of its Asian and Latin flavors. Fosselman’s is sold at over 600 outlets. Their ice cream is served in private clubs, restaurants, hotels, food trucks, and scoop shops throughout Southern California and beyond.
“We have new distributors going down as far as San Diego and as far north as Yosemite and San Francisco. We even have distributors in Texas, Colorado, and Nevada, too.” said John.
To the applause of the South Pasadena community, Fosselman’s will be sold again in the city this coming summer at the new Jones Coffee House, the former location of Busters.
An exciting new Fosselman product is soft serve ice cream, recently introduced a few years ago at the retail shop. Customers can enjoy soft serve Fosselman’s Ice Cream at The Counter Restaurant, The Melt, and at 42 different Doug Haus restaurants.
One thing that hasn’t changed in Fosselman’s is the quality of ice cream. My brothers use the same base for recipes my dad, uncles, and even grandfather, have used since the inception of the company 100 years ago. It’s heavy on buttercream and all natural ingredients with no fillers. About 90 percent of the milk, cream and other ingredients used in the ice cream are locally sourced from California based companies. Weekly my brothers along with some of their 45 employees churn out 2000 to 2500 gallons of ice cream every week. The ice cream is batch made and hand stirred just like it was 100 years ago.
To mark the 100th anniversary of Fosselman’s Ice Cream, monthly jubilations are scheduled, celebrating the iconic ice cream business.
Tuesday, February 26th: Kathryn Barger will formally recognize Fosselman’s at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Friday, March 1st: Current and former Fosselman employees are invited to come down for a group photo on National Employee Appreciation Day.
Saturday, April 6th: Huntington Hospital Blood Drive—all-day blood drive, ice cream sundaes for the first 100 blood donors.
May: Date-to-be-determined to celebrate the founders of Fosselman’s
Thursday, June 20th: National Ice Cream Soda Day—Ice Cream Sodas for $1.19
National Ice Cream Month: 100th Celebration Street Party TBD
Sunday, July 21: National Ice Cream Day. There will be special pricing on ice cream.
Thursday, July 25th: National Hot Fudge Sundae Day
Thursday, August 1st: National Ice Cream Sandwich Day
Tuesday, August 6th: National Root Beer Float Day, tribute to Bob Fosselman
Thursday, September 12th: National Milkshake Day
Monday, October 14th: National Dessert Day
Date-to-be-determined day to celebrate with the city of Alhambra
Sell special 100th t-shirts, visors, hats and stickers
Support charities in Alhambra—Ramona Convent, Alhambra High School and All Souls