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Iowa History Daily: October 24 - Birth of Blue Bunny

Iowa History Daily: On October 24, 1913, businessman Fred H. Wells and local dairy farmer Ray Bowers from Le Mars signed a contract establishing the business which became the iconic Iowa company Wells Blue Bunny. The largest family-owned and managed ice cream manufacturer in America, Wells Blue Bunny still calls Le Mars home today.

The initial contract between Wells and Bowers entailed quite a bargain: for $250 Wells purchased a milk delivery route, a horse and wagon, as well as a variety of other equipment. While Bowers focused on supplying the milk, Wells started to build a successful home-delivery business.

In 1925, Wells, as well as his sons, started to manufacture and sell ice cream in the area around Le Mars, including a successful trade in Sioux City which led to the Fairmont Ice Cream Company purchasing the “Wells Ice Cream” name in 1928. When the family decided to move back in on the Sioux City market in 1935, they held a “Name That Ice Cream Contest,” which awarded a Sioux City man $25 for his suggestion of ‘Blue Bunny,’ in honor of his son’s fondness for blue bunnies in a store’s Easter display.

After weathering the Great Depression and World War II era, the company continued to grow the operation in Le Mars. Construction of “The North Plant” finished in the 1950s, and a “Milk Plant” followed in the early 1960s. During the 1970s the company incorporated, but the family retained ownership and management responsibilities. Today, the company still represents an Iowa small-town business success story. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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