Meager Beginnings

Mr. Heath's business didn't flourish for several years. In those days home freezers hadn't yet come into popularity, so there was not a great demand for ice cream. There was also another ice cream factory in Robinson which competed with Mr. Heath's. In the beginning, there were only 11 accounts. Ice cream was not put in packages, but was packed exclusively in bulk in five-gallon metal cans. Pints, quarts and half-gallons were dipped by hand and sold at retail for 15 cents, 25 cents, and 45 cents, respectively. The price of a gallon packed in ice and delivered in town was one dollar. The wholesale price to dealers in five-gallon cans were 60 cents a gallon in Robinson and 50 cents a gallon outside of town. The extra in-town charge was to cover the cost of having to deliver any hour of the day or night.

In 1919, equipment for churning butter was added to the ice cream factory. This added considerable volume to the business. In January of 1920, Mr. Heath purchased the business of his only competitor, The Model Ice Cream Company, and with it, the Robinson Bottling Works. The bottling operation was very small, with an output of only about 40 cases a day.

Meanwhile, the boys expanded their confectionery business by introducing new items, which proved to be very popular with their customers. There were many such confectionery shops in the Midwest at that time, which were frequented by salesmen who traveled from shop to shop. As one of these salesmen in particular got to know the Heath Brothers, he began to share with them candy recipes from other confectionery shops he visited