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Buckeye Built: Pierre's Ice Cream churning out sweet treats since 1932

Posted: 10:21 AM, Oct 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-23 10:03:08-04
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HUDSON, Ohio — From Cleveland to Columbus and Toledo to Cincinnati, Ohio is packed with companies who call the Buckeye State home.

As part of the News 5 Cleveland Buckeye Built series, reporter Meg Shaw went behind the scenes of a business who's satisfied sweet cravings for decades: Pierre's Ice Cream.

History

Pierre's Ice Cream first opened its doors in Cleveland in 1932 on Euclid Avenue in the back of a retail shop. The company's founder, Alexander “Pierre” Basset, dreamed of selling premium ice cream and getting out of the back of the store. That didn't take long.

Buckeye Built: Pierre's Ice Cream

Throughout the years, Pierre’s relocated a few times, growing larger with each move. Despite it all, they never strayed far from their roots. The Pierre's headquarters and manufacturing facilities stayed within one square mile.

"We’ve determined this is the best place for us to do our business," Shelley Roth said.

Roth is the current president of Pierre's. She took over the company nearly 30 years ago, after her father, Sol, retired.

Buckeye Built: Pierre's Ice Cream
Buckeye Built: Pierre's Ice Cream

"I had the privilege of working side by side with him throughout the 80s and 90s," she said. "But the 80s was the time where he really showed confidence in me, taught me a lot and had the confidence to have a succession plan where I would ultimately become president."

Buckeye Built: Pierre's Ice Cream
Buckeye Built: Pierre's Ice Cream

Roth said in 1994 Pierre's moved into to their headquarters at East 65th and Euclid, just one mile west of the original shop. Then in 2011 they completed their campus with a new state of the art ice cream factory.

MidTown Neighborhood Anchor

Back when Pierre's opened, Euclid Avenue in Cleveland's MidTown neighborhood was bustling. But over the years, the area of town has experienced dramatic changes.

MidTown is just east of downtown Cleveland starting at East 18th Street, stretching down just below Carnegie as far east as Eddy Road.

Roth said during the 80s and 90s the MidTown neighborhoods saw several ups and downs.

"You'll see a lot of dilapidated warehouses, vacant buildings and just a lot of, you know, unsightly buildings," she said.

Buckeye Built - Pierre's Ice Cream

But despite it all, Pierre's remained anchored in the neighborhood. The company made a bold decision in 1994 to build their headquarters in the area, rather than moving out altogether.

Roth said they're proud of their decision.

"We knew we had to do something, and when it came right down to it, we felt, you know, this made good business sense. But it also was a win-win, because it also did something positive for the community," Roth said.

Now, the MidTown neighborhood is vibrant once again. According to MidTown Cleveland, Inc. the area is now home to 2,000 residents, more than 650 organizations, including 50 nonprofits, 12 design and architecture firms, 75 health tech & high tech ventures, dozens of manufacturers, and hundreds of small businesses.

Roth calls the growth of the neighborhood exciting.

"It's very exciting. It's thriving. There's always some new construction going on renovations, more people around," she said. "We've always felt anchored here, but now it really feels like a neighborhood with community. You'll see people walking around, jogging, bikes. It's more alive."

Standing Out

Since Pierre's open its doors 87 years ago, the ice cream competition has heated up. There are dozens of options for customers to choose from.

Roth said that's been the hardest part about their journey.

"We want to do a really great job, we want to be better than all the brands that sit on shelves near us," the ice cream company president said.

She said they've worked hard over the years to produce exciting products, that can fit nearly every diet.

In addition to their premium ice cream flavors, Pierre's sells products that have less sugar and less fat. The company is also very cognizant of portion control.

Roth said she hopes customers can appreciate a product made in the city or state where they live.

"It is made fresh here every day and that's a big advantage," she said. "If you're standing at the freezer, trying to decide what you should take home tonight, take home what's made here in Cleveland."

For more information on Pierre's, click here .

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