How We Got Our Sweet Start
Did you know our sweet company dates all the way back to 1913? It all started when Fred H. Wells, Jr. paid $250 to a local dairy man for a few cans, a horse and the good will of the milk business. Fred built his business in Le Mars by delivering milk house to house, seven days a week in his horse-drawn wagon.
The hardworking entrepreneur Fred, partnered with his brother, Harry C. Wells, to start the Wells Ice Cream Company of Sioux City in 1925. The brothers used high quality ingredients and it soon was a hit, becoming the leading ice cream maker in Sioux City.
The Wells brothers sold the Wells Ice Cream Company and the Wells name to a competitor, Fairmont Creamery, in 1929. This sale helped the family through the Depression years. The Wells brothers didn’t give up on their ice cream dreams, however. In 1935, Fred and Harry wanted to get back into ice cream but needed a new name for their product. To drum up excitement, they ran a “Name That Ice Cream” contest in the Sioux City Journal with a cash prize of $25. John Vanden Brink submitted the winning name that we’re all familiar with today: Blue Bunny. How did he come up with that name? He noticed how much his son enjoyed the blue bunnies in a department store’s window around Easter time. Vanden Brink, an illustrator by trade, also drew the first Blue Bunny logo. That same logo was used on packaging for nearly 70 years!
Wells’ history is rooted in family and togetherness. What started as one brand has now grown to include a family of brands and licensed products. We’re proud of where we started, excited for how we’ve expanded, and eager to see where we go next. From the single delivery wagon to the world’s largest family-owned and managed ice cream producer, we think our 100+ years in the industry is a pretty sweet story.
Where We are Today
- Take a bite out of history, and visit the Wells Visitor Center & Ice Cream Parlor.
- When Fred H. Wells, Jr began the company in 1913 as the sole employee, he probably would not have imagined Wells Enterprises, Inc. employing over 3,000 across the United States today!
- Did you know that in Le Mars, Iowa, a town of nearly 10,000, Wells Enterprises makes more than 150 million gallons of ice cream each year?
- Vanilla is the most popular flavor we make, although locally in our parlor the last few years our Blue Bunny Salted Caramel Craze has topped the charts. What is your favorite?
- We can make more than 1 million ice cream sandwiches in 1 day at our manufacturing plants in Le Mars!
- All that ice cream takes a lot of milk! On average, one tanker truck full of fresh milk arrives at Wells every hour of every day, 365 days a year.
- Our 12-story free-standing high rise freezer is one of tallest in the world! This amazing (and very cold, a chilly -40 degrees!) structure can store over 70,000 pallets of ice cream and frozen treats.
Want to Learn More?
Discover the sweet history and evolution of Wells Enterprises and the new Wells Visitor Center & Ice Cream Parlor and what keeps visitors coming back.Learn More