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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.

Elected to the board of directors for a three-year term were:

Christine D’Amico of Over the Top, Des Moines IA and Zach Burton of Neilsen Massey Vanilla, Chicago IL. Terms will end in 2021 with the November 2021 annual meeting.

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, and chocolate ice cream submitted by members of the association. A total of 26 vanilla samples and 23 chocolate samples 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.


Blue Ribbons:
Over The Top, Des Moines, IA
Daddy O’Brien’s Irish Ice Cream, Sugar Hill, GA

Clementine’s Ice Cream, St louis MO


Red Ribbons:

Over The Top, Des Moines, IA

Bliss Small batch Creamery, University Place WA

Blank Slate Creamery, Ann Arbor MI

The Ice Cream Club, Boynton Beach FL

Enstrom candy’s, Grand Junction CO

Andia’s Homemade Ice Cream, Carey, NC

Capannari’s Ice Cream, Mt Prospect IL

The Ice Cream Café, Gillette WY

JD’s Old-fashioned Frozen Custard, Englewood OH


Blue Ribbons:

Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, Madison, WI

The Ice Cream Club, Boynton Beach FL

Enstrom candy’s, Grand Junction CO

Kelly’s Cone Connection, Hamden CT

Andia’s Homemade Ice Cream, Carey, NC

King Cone, Wisconsin Rapids, WI


Red Ribbons:

Ilsleys Ice Cream, Weare NH

Over The Top, Des Moines, IA

Over The Top, Des Moines, IA

Daddy O’Brien’s Irish Ice Cream, Sugar Hill, GA

Blank Slate Creamery, Ann Arbor MI

Almost Heaven Ice Cream, Canton OH

Karen’s Kreamery, Avondale AZ

Andia’s Homemade Ice Cream, Carey, NC

Bonny Brae Ice Cream, Denver CO

Sonny’s Amazing Italian Ice, Los Angeles CA

The Best New Flavor of 2019

“Country Berries” 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 Homestead Creamery based out of Wirtz VA. The company won the coveted First Place for its new flavor. A total of 41 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 Apple Butter Ginger Snap made by Ilsleys Ice Cream, Weare NH, Bourbon Toffee Crunch by Karens Kreamery of Avondale AZ, Banana Cream Pie made by Queen City Creamery, Cumberland MD

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, Chocolate Coconut Fudge was named the Best New Flavor Non-Dairy made by Clementine’s Creamery based in St Louis MO.

Honorable Mentions were given to Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, Madison WI for Butter Pecan Soy; Half Pint Ice Cream, Hanover PA for Strawberry Daquiri; and Coffee Almond Fudge made by The Ice Cream Club, Boynton Beach, FL

Ten Students Win Bryce Thomson Scholarship Awards

During the NICRA Annual Meeting recently held at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Colorado Springs, CO, it was announced that ten employees of member stores will each be receiving a scholarship award. The winners and amounts of the award are:

$3,500     Kiley McKenna, Foleys Ice Cream Shop, Braintree MA
$2,500     Jana High, Meadow Creamery, Ephrata, PA

$2,500     Matthew Cornett, Apple Valley Creamery, Severville PA
$2,000     Tyler Hubbard, Apple Valley Creamery, Severville PA
$1,500     Abigail Leon, Ro’s Custard Creations, North Canton OH
$1,000      Jessica Massey, Sweet T’s Ice Cream, Kingston Springs TN
$1,000      Katherine MacConnell, Yummies, Warsaw NY
$1,000      Madeline Huber, Nita Mae’s Scoop, Marine on St Croix, MN
$1,000      Courtney Harbert, Almost Heaven Homemade Ice Cream, Canton OH
$1,000      Brenna Birkenstock, Riverside Creamery, Pt Jervis, NY

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.

Lynda Utterback Named Forrest Mock Person of the Year

Lynda Utterback served at the Executive Director for the NICRA organization from the year 2000 to 2018 and administered the organization for 17 years.  Lynda came into the Exec Dir role when the Association had a great need for better administration and controls, and her experience with the ice cream industry and publishing the National Dipper became a perfect match.  During Lynda’s time as Exec Dir, the association stabilized structurally and financially and a solid foundation was established to future growth.

As well as serving in an administrative function, Lynda created many lifelong friends while working in the role, which continues today.

This award is as well deserving as it gets for someone who has contributed outstanding and dedicated service to the ice cream and frozen dessert industry, and to the 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