Major Events For Joy Cone
There are few American companies that have been in business for over 100 years.
Joy Cone Co. is one of those few. The ingredients for such longevity are producing a consistently high-quality product, always putting the customer first, and listening to those customers in creating new, exciting innovations to supplement the traditional products the public already loves.
Starting as a family business in 1918, not that long after the ice cream cone was invented, Joy Cone currently produces over 2 billion cones each year from four locations. The road to that staggering level of production has not always been smooth, but perseverance and a dedication and loyalty to its customers have kept Joy Cone in the lead for 105 years. Joy Cone began when Albert George and Thomas J. Thomas opened the doors of the George & Thomas Cone Company in 1918. At the time, they had one hand-operated cone oven. While Thomas would leave the company after a few years, Albert moved the growing business into a larger facility in Sharon, Pennsylvania in 1934.
In 1943, a fire destroyed the Sharon plant and, because so many materials were being diverted to the war effort, it took a year to rebuild.
The George & Thomas Cone Company reopened in 1944 and continued manufacturing cones until 1964, when the plant was again destroyed by fire, just two months after being taken over by Joe George and his brother Mike. The company then moved into its current location at 3435 Lamor Road in Hermitage, Pennsylvania.
By the late 60s, Joe George initiated the “Joy” retail brand, opening the business to new markets. The company also opened a machine shop and began manufacturing new plugs for cake cup molds. Soon the shop was producing full sets of molds. In 1969, the company built its first addition, a new warehouse, on Lamor Road.
In the early 1970s, Joy’s retail brand and food service business grew. The machine shop expanded, and the company built its first entire cake cup oven, the first of many. Around the same time, Dairy Queen became a customer.
In 1973, Mike George left the company and Fred George, Joe’s youngest brother, joined the company in 1974 as a co-owner and headed up the company’s sales efforts.
By the early 1980s, the growth and recognition of the “Joy” brand prompted the George & Thomas Cone Company to begin doing business as “Joy Cone Co.” and in the mid-1980s, Joy started producing sugar cones and, by 1989, waffle cones as well.
The 90s saw Joy purchase the Safe-T Pacific Cone Co. from Quaker Oats. In Food Service, Joy was first to the market with jacketed cake cups.
In March of 2000, Joy began producing cones from its Flagstaff plant and, the same year, when Ace Baking filed for bankruptcy, Joy was able to garner the largest share of Ace’s business and became the largest producer in the USA.
Four years later, in 2004, Bakeline, Joy’s second largest competitor, went bankrupt. Joy was able to acquire almost all of Bakeline’s business, which is exclusively in the retail private-label market.
By 2016, Joe George officially retired from Joy Cone Co., after a span of more than 50 years from when he took over in 1964.
In September of that year, Joy completed the acquisition of BoDeans Baking Group, headquartered in Le Mars, Iowa. BoDeans is 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.
On its 100th anniversary in 2018, Joy opened its cookie plant in Hermitage, with the initial goal of meeting the demand in the industrial market. And as Joy celebrated its 100th year, it had become 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 looks forward to its second century.
Today, Joy Cone produces its core line of sugar cones, waffle cones, cake cups, and waffle bowls, but has added a variety of new products like Chocolate Chip Cookie Cones, Sugar Cones Made With Oreo® Cookie Pieces, Birthday Cake Dipped Cups, Chocolatey Dipped Cups, and Chocolate Waffle Cones.
That, in a nutshell, is the Joy Cone story. It’s not only inspiring but also serves as an example to business start-ups everywhere that dedication to quality and to customers always pays off. That’s a business model that Joy Cone has always followed and will continue to pursue as it looks forward to its 200th anniversary in just 95 years.