Farm Fresh for 50 Years
In the Midwest, a bright pink and blue neon ice cream cone usually only means one thing, a Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Store is on the horizon.
The iconic staple known for its farm fresh milk, hand-dipped ice cream, grilled burgers, fries and shakes, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The family-owned and operated business first opened its doors in Oklahoma City in 1968.
“This is a momentous milestone that we could not have reached without our wonderful customers,” said Drew Braum, President and CEO. “We have enjoyed over five decades of growing with the communities that we are in, and we look forward to serving them for many decades to come.”
Although the Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Store name has only been around for 50 years, the groundwork began in 1933. It was that year that Henry H. Braum, Bill Braum’s father, bought a small butter processing plant located in their hometown of Emporia, Kansas. Later, milk processing was added.
BRAUM’S HISTORY THROUGH THE DECADES:
- 1933: Henry H. Braum (Bill Braum’s father) bought a small butter processing plant located in their hometown of Emporia, Kansas. Later, milk processing was added.
- 1940: Henry Braum expanded the business to include ice cream processing.
- 1952: Henry Braum sold the wholesale part of the business and began specializing in milk and ice cream. He developed a chain of retail ice cream stores in Kansas called “Peter Pan”, named after a local park in Emporia.
- 1961: After graduating with a business degree and taking a more active role in the company, Bill bought the company from his father and also purchased his first dairy farm in Emporia.
- 1967: After growing the Peter Pan chain to 61 stores and increasing the business ten-fold, Bill sold the “Peter Pan” retail stores to a large wholesaler. The sale did not include the Braum dairy herd and processing plant. Stated as a condition of sale, the Braum’s would not be allowed to sell ice cream in Kansas for ten years.
- 1968: Bill and his wife, Mary, opened their first Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Store in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Twenty-three more stores opened throughout the State of Oklahoma that year. For three years, because the Braum dairy herd and processing plant were still located in Emporia, Kansas, all
ice cream, dairy products, and other supplies had to be transported daily from Emporia, Kansas, to Oklahoma.
- 1971: A new 60,000 square foot processing plant was built in Oklahoma City.
- 1975: The Braum’s dairy herd, which was the largest dairy herd in Kansas at the time, moved to Oklahoma. This “modern day cattle drive” consisted of over 900 cows traveling down the highway in a convoy of semi trailer trucks to their new home at the Braum Farm in Tuttle.
- 1978: The original Braum’s bakery was built in Oklahoma City next to the Processing Plant. This facility produced the fresh bakery items available in Braum’s stores including cookies, cones, buns, breads and much more.
- 1983: Bill and Mary Braum bought several farms in southeastern Oklahoma including farms in Stonewall, Asher, Wanette and Byars, Oklahoma. Each farm played its own unique role in the Braum operation from growing alfalfa hay and corn to feed the dairy herd, to raising calves.
- 1987: The need for a larger processing plant became evident. Braum’s construction crews built a 260,000 square foot, state-of-the-art-processing plant on the Braum Farm in Tuttle. The original processing plant became the site for Braum’s Corporate Offices.
- 1988: Bill Braum purchased the farm that lies on the border of Follett, Texas and Shattuck, Oklahoma. At the time, this farm was used primarily for growing alfalfa hay to feed the dairy herd. Over the years this farm has grown to 24,000 acres (38 square miles).
- 1993: Braum’s construction crews built what is now touted as one of the largest milking operations of its kind in the world on the Tuttle Farm consisting of a milk barn and 17 free stall barns (covering 35 acres) that house Braum’s private dairy herd.
- 2002: Braum’s construction crews built a milking complex on the Follett Farm. Although smaller than the milking operation in Tuttle, the private dairy herd provides several truckloads of thousands of pounds of fresh raw milk each day. This milk is transported to the Braum’s Processing Plant in Tuttle. Calves that are born on the Shattuck Farm are raised here and will eventually join the milking herd. All of the bull calves from both Tuttle and Shattuck are raised here as well.
- 2008: 3000 calf hutches and pens were installed so the replacement heifers could be raised on the Tuttle Farm. Eventually they will become part of the milking herd.
- 2010: Braum’s built a new 240,000 square foot Bakery and Warehouse Distribution Facility adjacent to the Processing Plant on the Tuttle Farm.
Today, Braum’s owns and operates around 280 stores located throughout Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas. All Braum’s stores are within about a 300-mile radius of the Braum Farm and Processing Plant in Tuttle. Our delivery trucks are on the road seven days a week delivering fresh product to each store, every other day.
Bill and Mary’s four children, Becky, Elaine, Murray and Drew have worked over the years in various capacities assuming more and more responsibilities. Today, Drew is President and CEO. He manages the company, including the processing plant, bakery, trucks and the stores. Drew’s sister Elaine assists him. Drew’s eldest son, Drew II, came to work for the company after serving in the Marines and doing a tour in Afghanistan. He currently runs the Tuttle Plant. Drew’s youngest son, Colton Braum, just started his first job with the company at 15-years-old. He serves ice cream at his neighborhood Braum’s just like his sister, Emma, and brother did when they were younger. A family business founded on strong work ethic.
Bill and Mary are now semi-retired, and live on the Tuttle Farm.
Throughout the years, Bill Braum has been known as a pioneer in “vertical integration”. From the ground up, Braum’s consistently controls every aspect of the operation including farming, manufacturing, and retailing.