An American Pastime. An American Dream.
He was only 15 when he came to America in 1903 unable to speak English. But that didn’t stop Joseph Dager from striving for the American dream. And who would have imagined that just 11 years later, Joseph Dager’s dream would be reached in the basement of a Utica, OH confectionery with an all-American product. But that’s exactly what happened when Joseph Dager sold his first batch of hand-cranked vanilla ice cream and Velvet Ice Cream was born.
Making Ice Cream a Family Affair
With the help of Joe's sons Ed and Charlie, Velvet Ice Cream grew into a thriving business. In the 1930s, Velvet built a manufacturing plant behind the confectionery and began selling ice cream to near-by grocery stores and restaurants expanding into Columbus in 1937. Eventually this booming business outgrew its space in downtown Utica and in 1960 it was time to move. By this time, the third generation of Dager’s, Joe and Mike, were playing a major role in running the company.
Ed Dager, now the president of the company, started looking for Velvet’s new home. They found the perfect site to support Velvet’s growth on the outskirts of Utica. The site had an old gristmill built in 1817. The Dagers thought the mill was a great representation of the old-fashioned goodness and loving care that Joseph Dager put into his hand-cranked ice cream. With that, they restored the historic mill and it not only became their new headquarters, it became their trademark and appears on Velvet Ice Cream’s packaging to this date.
A MILLion Reasons People Love Velvet
Today, Ye Olde Mill is a landmark that houses Ohio’s only ice cream museum. More than 150,000 people visit this family-fun destination every year to learn about Velvet and enjoy a delicious taste of ice cream history.
Working together as a family, each generation of the Dager family has contributed to Velvet’s success, and today is no different. With Joe as chairman and his daughters running the day-to-day operations, Velvet continues to grow. The fourth generation of the Dager family, Luconda, President , Joanne, vice-president, food service, and Andre Dager vice-president, guest relations, continue to carry on Joseph Dager’s dream. And while, Olde Tyme Vanilla, still remains the #1 flavor of choice, people now can enjoy more than 500 flavors across the US now and for generations to come.