In 1918, Albert George and Thomas J. Thomas start the George & Thomas Cone Co., with one hand-operated cone oven. Thomas leaves the business within the first few years.

Plant is located at Corner of Ulp St. & Brookfield Ave., Brookfield, OH. from 1918-1934

By 1934, Albert determined the Brookfield plant was too old and too small for the growing business, and he moved the operation to a larger building. The new address was 840 S. Irvine in Sharon, PA.

Just nine years later, in 1943, most of the new plant was destroyed by fire. Due to the shortage of materials brought about by World War II, the company had difficulty getting materials to rebuild the business.

The business was rebuilt by 1944, and the George & Thomas Cone Co. reopened, though not at pre-fire levels. For the next 19 years, the company’s business slowly declined.

In 1964, Joe George, along with his brother Mike, took over George & Thomas Cone Co. With only one customer, total annual sales were only $25,000. To make matters worse, the plant was once again destroyed by fire just two months after Joe George took over. After the fire, the decision was made to move the company into a building that was formerly Deneen’s Dairy, which is the current location at 3435 Lamor Road in Hermitage, PA.

Article taken from the Herald concerning the second fire in 1964

In the late 1960s, Joe George initiated the “Joy” retail brand, which opened up the business to new markets. The company also opened a machine shop and began manufacturing new cake cone molds. Soon the shop was producing full sets of molds. By 1969, the company built its first addition, a new warehouse, on Lamor Road.

The 1970s brought growth to both Joy’s retail brand and their food service business. The machine shop was expanded, and the company built the first of many entire cake cone ovens. In the early 70’s, Dairy Queen became a customer and the company adds another warehouse room. Mike George left the company in 1973. The following year, Fred George, Joe’s youngest brother, joined the company as a co-owner in addition to heading up the sales efforts for the company.

Photo of a display in an Isaly store on West State Street in Sharon, PA.

The company began co-packing for Nabisco. Meanwhile, the machine shop began producing molds with the “DQ” logo inscribed on them, greatly increasing business with Dairy Queen. Given the growth and recognition of the “Joy” brand, the George & Thomas Cone Co. began to do business as “Joy Cone Co.” Retail and food service continued to grow rapidly and the plant expanded several times in the 1980s. In the 1985 expansion, an addition was built over top of the old Deneen building, and all but one wall of the original Deneen building was knocked down. In mid-1980s, Joy starts producing sugar cones and, by 1989, waffle cones as well.

Starting July 1, 1981, Joy Cone began production of a first-ever designer cone Joy Cone produced medium –sized cones for Dairy Queen

The 1990s brought continued expansion with Joy looking for a Western site for a second production facility.

Fred George departed the company in 1992 and Joy Cone becomes partially-owned ESOP.

 July 15, 1991 Herald Newspaper Article, "Joy Cone exercises flexibility"

Joy purchased the Safe-T Pacific Cone Co. from Quaker Oats in 1993. Safe-T Pacific's sales were primarily in retail and were exclusively in the West. In Food Service, Joy became the first to market jacketed cake cones.

Land was purchased in Flagstaff for future Western expansion site. However, given tough competitive landscape and depressed pricing and profitability, the company holds off for a few years before breaking ground.

Joy breaks ground on new site in Flagstaff, AZ. First phase was 67,000 sq. ft.

Joy was able to garner the largest share of the USA cone business as a result of their largest competitor, Ace Baking, filing for bankruptcy. Additionally, in March 2000, the Flagstaff plant produced its first cones.

Flagstaff, AZ Facility

The Flagstaff operation was expanded in 2003, and a year later, Bakeline, Joy’s second largest competitor, filed for bankruptcy. Joy was able to absorb almost all of Bakeline’s business, which was exclusively in the retail private-label market.

The early 2000s continued to be a time of growth, as Joy expanded in Hermitage to handle increases in business in 2005.

David George, Joe’s son, became President of Joy Cone in 2007 and, in 2009, the Flagstaff plant was expanded. Also that year, Joy purchased Robinson Cone, a division of Dover Industries, the largest cone producer in Canada.

The expansion of Joy’s Hermitage location was completed in 2010, which consolidated all cake cone production in the southern portion of the plant and all sugar and waffle cone/bowl production in the northern portion.

In March 2016, Joe George, Chairman of the Board, officially retires from Joy Cone Co., ending a span of more than 50 years from when he took over in 1964. In September of that same year, Joy completed the acquisition of BoDeans Baking Group, headquartered in Le Mars, IA. BoDeans was the leading supplier of sugar cones, wafers, and cookie inclusions in the industrial market. Altesa, the leading Mexican cone producer, was a division of BoDeans and became part of the Joy Cone family. Simultaneous with this acquisition, Joy converted to a 100% ESOP company.

Joseph George - Second Generation
David George, 3rd Generation with father, Joseph George, 2nd Generation.

Joy opens up its Cookie plant in Hermitage, with the initial goal of meeting the demand in the Industrial market. As Joy celebrates its 100-year anniversary, it is the world’s largest producer of ice cream cones, producing over 2 billion cones per year. In addition to all types of cones for the food service, industrial, and retail markets in the US, Canada, and Mexico, it produces wafers and cookies. Joy has operations in four different cities in the US and Mexico and has over 1,000 employees. The entire Joy Cone family, together, embraces the success of the company’s first century, and looks forward to the beginning of the next 100 years.

The Joy Cone Cookie plant
Joy 100 year anniversary logo
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