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Mooresville Ice Cream Company, History Timeline

Early History of Mooresville Ice Cream Company EARLY HISTORY

Published August 16, 2009, Mooresville Tribune

The Mooresville Ice Cream Company goes back to Mooresville's early days when the Mooresville Co-operative Creamery was established in 1914. There were many dairy herds in southern Iredell, and someone thought that it made sense and cents to use the milk for locally made products, and as a market for surplus cream.

The Mooresville Ice Cream Company was organized in February 1924. and incorporated April 17, 1924. According to a write-up in the Mooresville Enterprise of Feb. 21, 1924, "Mooresville is to have an ice cream factory. The company for the manufacture of frozen goods was organized last Thursday night with an authorized capital of $50,000, with $12,500 paid in. The incorporators are: B. A. Troutman, Charley Mack, Side Mack, Joe Ikall, Ben Salem, Thomas Morrow, H. C. Newsome and others.

"The company has purchased a lot from B. A. Troutman next to the Creamery property, where a building is already under construction. The factory will be equipped with modern facilities and the cream will be made and inspected according to the pure food laws. It is the purpose of the company to have everything in readiness for the delivery of cream from the plant not later than the first of May.

"At a meeting of the stockholders the following board of directors were elected: Thomas Morrow, H. C. Newsome, Victor A. Johnston, B. A. Troutman, Charley Mack. The directors then elected officers as follows: B. A. Troutman, president; Charley Mack, vice president. ..."

Troutman served as president of the company through 1940, and was succeeded by Robert Edmiston.

The W.N. Johnston and Son business, located nearby on Broad Street, had just expanded its ice-producing capabilities from 25 tons to 45 tons a day and would soon be supplying the ice cream company with up to 45 300-pound blocks of ice daily.

Robert S. Edmiston produced, bottled and sold milk. Morrow also had a dairy. Charlie Mack had access to wholesale sugar, while Ikall could sell ice cream at his candy kitchen business. Burette Augustus Troutman owned the land beside the co-operative creamery and was a contractor, building the ice cream plant. The company's building at 172 N. Broad St., Mooresville, has never been used for anything else in 84 years.

Everything was set, but no one really knew the finer points of actually making quality ice cream. That's where the Millsaps family entered the picture. R.C. Millsaps, who had experience with the product, was recruited from Statesville to run the Mooresville facility. Millsaps joined the operation in March 1924 and actual production began the following month. The rest, as they say, is history.
The company is said to have experienced a 100 percent growth between 1924 and 1930. Millsaps managed the company for the next 20 years, then served as its president for the following 20 years until his death in 1964.

The ice cream company became a family business, and R.C.'s five boys and three girls all worked at the plant at one time or another, with sons Ralph Jr., Harvey and Clyde making careers there. In some cases, their children found careers there also.

The business grew and by 1929 the company was using the first refrigerated truck in the county to deliver its products.

By 1972 the company reported 18 full-time employees and five part-time summer employees. At that time, they were capable of producing 380 gallons of ice cream or 500 dozen popsicles an hour.

Under the direction of Gene Millsaps, Ralph Sr.'s grandson and former president of the company, the Mooresville Ice Cream Company eventually produced 3,000 gallons of ice cream a week in 35 flavors.

Today, Mooresville Ice Cream continues to use the best ingredients available to produce some of the best tasting ice cream on the market.

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