Gopher-preneur book of the month, August '05, Ben & Jerry's: The Inside Scoop by Fred "Chico" Lager What a great story this is. Everyone knows of Ben & Jerry's ice cream but do you know how Ben & Jerry got this company started? Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield first met in 7th grade gym class in 1963. They stayed close throughout the years. As they got older, each seemed to have trouble conforming to job requirements of companies they applied to. So in 1977 Ben and Jerry move to Vermont and take a $5 correspondence course in ice cream-making from Penn State. They then found Ben & Jerry's ice cream company in Burlington, Vermont, in a renovated gas station. They started their business with a $12,000 investment ($4,000 of it borrowed), in a renovated gas station at the corner of St. Paul and College Streets in downtown Burlington, Vermont. Making and selling ice cream was a tough business and didn't make them much money at all. Ben decided they needed to distribute their ice cream to other retail stores. This decision helped push the company onward and upward to bigger and better things. On April 12, 2000 Unilever paid $326M for Ben & Jerry's company. Pretty neat huh? A side not which is very interesting as well. B&J's main competitor was Häagen-Dazs. Did you know that Häagen-Dazs is a made up name which doesn't mean anything. It was created by Reuben Mattus who started making ice cream in his kitchen located in Bronx, NY in the 1920's. The character ä in the name isn't even used in the Danish language. Reuben created the name that he said was a Danish company because he felt no one hated the Danish. Also being from a far away land might help him sell the ice cream for more money under the 'super premium' brand heading. Want to learn more about business? Read some of our other previous books of the month.