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National Ice Cream Retailers Association 2019 Annual Convention report.

NICRA is a trade organization whose members are in the retail ice cream and frozen dessert business, or suppliers to that business. The members of NICRA are located all over the continental United State, Canada, and several other countries.

They operate hundreds of frozen dessert businesses, retail and wholesale, employ thousands of full and part-time employees and generate millions of dollars in sales within the frozen dessert industry.  Since 1933, NICRA has had ice cream people helping ice cream people in this great industry.

The 86th annual convention and trade show of the NICRA organization was held between the 5th and the 7th of November 2019, at the North Charleston Convention Center, South Carolina. The event was attended by national and international retailers of ice cream and frozen desserts.

New Officers and Board of Directors

Elected as President of the association was George Xouris, Andia’s Homemade Ice Cream, Carey NC.

Also elected as President-Elect was Jeff Shain, of Shain’s of Maine, Sanford ME, and elected in the role of Vice President was Patti Otte, of Sweet Firelfy, Richardson TX. Charlie Wilcox of Mariannes Ice Cream, satna Cruz, CA was elected Secretary Treasurer, and Dave Deadman, Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, Madison WI, becomes the immediate Past President.

Supplier Board

The National Ice Cream Retailers Suppliers Association elected new Officers at its 86th Annual Meeting. Kyle Cameron, Joy Cone Company, Hermitage, Pennsylvania was elected president; Ben Keser of Novelty Cone, Pennsauken Township, NJ was elected vice president and elected as secretary/treasurer was Evan Waldt of Ice Cream Equipment Specialties.

Cherish Mathews, Forbes Chocolate, Broadview Heights, Ohio becomes Chairman.

Ice Cream Clinic Review

Each year, members of The National Ice Cream Retailers Association, who make their own ice cream, submit samples of their ice cream to a professor of dairy science, prior to the Annual Convention, to be analyzed and compared to ice cream standards. This year Dr. Tonya Schoenfuss, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota analyzed samples of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream submitted by members of the association. A total of 24 vanilla samples, 21 chocolate samples and  were submitted.

The ice cream is scored, according to color, texture, taste, bacterial count, and many other factors. Blue Ribbons are awarded to those scoring the highest marks and then Red Ribbons were issued to the 2nd tier of excellence.

The following winners received their certificates at the Association’s awards banquet.

Best New Non-Dairy

1st place – Strawberry Lime Sorbet – Mama Birds Cookies and Cream

2nd place –  Vegan lemon Poppyseed - Clementine's Naughty and Nice Creamery - 

Honorable Mentions –

  • Mint Mojito – Enstrom Candies
  • Apple Cider Sorbet – Moomers Ice Cream
  • Chocolate Raspberry – Andersons Frozen Custard

Best New Flavor

1st place – Gooey Butter Cake - Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery

2nd place – Italian Butter Cookie - Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery

Honorable Mentions –

  • Peanute Butter Egg – Half Pint Creamery
  • Salted Crack Caramel - Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery
  • The Charleston – Holy Cow Ice Cream Cafe

Congratulations to Tamara Keefe from Clementines - We have never had a member sweep the nominations in a single category before. Well done.

 The Best New Flavor of 2019

“Gooey Butter Cake” Ice Cream was named the Best New Flavor at the 2018 National Ice Cream Retailers Association Annual Meeting. The Best New Flavor contest is held each year in conjunction with the Ice Cream Clinic Review at the annual meeting.

The ice cream was formulated and produced by Tamara Keefe of Clementines Naughty & Nice Creamery, St Louis MO. The company won the coveted First Place for its new flavor.

2nd place receipient for Best New Flavor was Italian Butter Cookie, also by Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery.

A total of 30 new flavors were submitted by NICRA member companies. Each flavor is sampled by convention attendees and a vote is taken by ballot at the meeting. The winner was announced during the annual banquet at the end of the meeting.

Honorable Mentions were given to 

  • Peanute Butter Egg – Half Pint Creamery, Hanover PA
  • Salted Crack Caramel - Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery, St louis MO and
  • The Charleston – Holy Cow Ice Cream Cafe, Gloucester, MA

Best New Flavor Non-Dairy

With nondairy flavors and formulations becoming so popular in the frozen dessert industry, the BNF competition had a secondary category this year.  In the category, Strawberry Lime Sorbet was named the Best New Flavor Non-Dairy made by Mama Birds Cookies and Cream, Holly Springs, NC.

2nd place award went to Vegan lemon Poppyseed, made by Clementine's Naughty and Nice Creamery 

Honorable Mentions were given to

  • Mint Mojito – Enstrom Candies, Grand Junction CO
  • Apple Cider Sorbet – Moomers Ice Cream, Traverse City, MI
  • Chocolate Raspberry – Andersons Frozen Custard, Buffalo NY

Ten Students Win Bryce Thomson Scholarship Awards

During the NICRA Annual Meeting recently held at the North Charleston Comvention center, it was announced that ten employees of member stores will each be receiving a scholarship award. The winners and amounts of the award are:

$1000 - Ashley Coleman of Rocky's Frozen Custard, Brownstown MI
$1000 - Kali Mayer  of  Fundaes Ice Cream Whitestown IN
$1000 - Elizabeth Gerlach of Kloter's Ice Cream Barn Ellington CT
$1000 - Haylee Jackson of Custard Corner Trenton MI
$1000 - Abby Wenger of Fox Meadows Cream Ephrata PA
$1500 - Linda Math of Franklin Fountain Philadelphia PA
$2000 - Audrey Fohey of Palmyra Tasty Freeze Palmyra MO
$2500 - Savanna Smucker of Fox Meadow Ephrata PA
$3000 - Amanda Hambright  Local Scoop Charlotte NC
$3500 - Autumn Speaight of Spring Dipper Mammoth Springs AK

The Bryce Thomson Scholarship was established in 1995 to honor Bryce Thomson, a longtime member and past president of the association and author of the monthly association publication, “The Sundae School Newsletter.”

He worked for Miller Dairy in Eaton Rapids, Michigan for 40 years and eventually became president of the company. He is the originator of the “Ice Cream Sundae Poll,” and the “Education Through Ice Cream” program which assisted several secondary schools with a teaching and learning concept in which students served up frozen treats during the noon hour in an actual in-school ice cream parlor.

The first, called the “Cold Tongue Ice Cream Parlor” was set up in Eaton Rapids, Michigan High School in 1973.

Rod Oringer Named Forrest Mock Person of the Year

Rod Oringer was named this years Forrest Mock Person of the Year. This award is giving to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the ice cream and frozen dessert industry as well at the National Ice Cream Retailers Association.



The first Forrest Mock Person of the Year Award went to Forrest Mock, for whom the award was named in 1983. For those of you who don’t know, Forrest was the 28th President of NICRA. He served on the Board of Directors for many years prior to being elected as President. In 1963, Forrest Mock became Executive Director of NICRA. He served in that role until 1980 when he retired. From all accounts, he was a great Executive Director.


Convention Archives

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The annual reports of the previous years convention and trade show events
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
2018 Archive PDF (133.75 KB) Administration 11/13/2019
2017_Archive.pdf PDF (162.28 KB) Administration 3/30/2019
2016_Archive.pdf PDF (181.47 KB) Administration 3/30/2019
2015_Archive.pdf PDF (205.88 KB) Administration 3/30/2019
2014_Archive.pdf PDF (209.06 KB) Administration 3/30/2019
2013_Archive.pdf PDF (209.15 KB) Administration 3/30/2019
2012_Archive.pdf PDF (205.12 KB) Administration 3/30/2019
2011_Archive.pdf PDF (174.5 KB) Administration 3/30/2019
2010_Archive.pdf PDF (163.68 KB) Administration 3/30/2019
2009_Archive.pdf PDF (168.93 KB) Administration 3/30/2019