One of Long Island's favorite places for ice cream during the summer is Carvel, but what do you know about the chain? Find out more about the iconic brand, as well as some of its signature products below.
Carvel on Long Island
According to Carvel, there are 82 Carvel locations in Nassau and Suffolk counties, including this one in Nesconset.
Locations across the U.S.
There are over 400 Carvel franchises and food service locations in 24 states, according to the company, but it says its key markets are in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and South Florida.
How many different flavors can you get at Carvel? According to the company, it depends on location. You can get between 20 and 40 soft and scooped ice cream flavors per shop, depending on the number of soft serve machines at the location.
$15 loan started it all
Back in 1929, Tom Carvel started his company thanks to a $15 loan from his future wife, Agnes. He used the proceeds to buy an ice cream truck.
Carvel's start by accident
Carvel as we know it started on Memorial Day in 1934 thanks to a flat tire, when Tom Carvel's ice cream truck got stuck in Hartsdale, New York. Eager fairgoers helped him eat up the treats, many of whom loved the softer, partially melted products.
First soft-serve ice cream machine
Tom Carvel is credited for inventing the world's first soft-serve ice cream machine in 1936.
By 1937, Carvel set up his first permanent location in Hartsdale, which had a freezer that allowed him to make his own frozen custard. The stand lasted until 2008.
Tom Carvel invented and patented the "Custard King" in 1947, which he sold for $2,900 each, but when he investigated some struggling locations using the product, he found that some had substandard business operations, and according to him, led to the concept of franchising.
Tom Carvel, pitchman
Tom Carvel became well-known for narrating and starring in his company's commercials. It started in 1955, when he wasn't happy with a radio ad and decided to tape the next commercial himself. He went on to do most of the company's advertising, including when the attention turned to television.
Carvel became well-known for its novelty items, including the 1972 creation of Cookie Puss, who was prominently mentioned in the company's commercials.
Fudgie the Whale
Fudgie the Whale was introduced in 1977 when Tom Carvel wanted to introduce a fish cake for Father's Day and Fudgie was born. According to the company, 50,000 are sold each year, and the product has gotten a mention on such TV shows as "The Simpsons," "How I Met Your Mother," "Mystery Science Theater 3000" and "Family Guy."
Santa / Ms. Fudgie
Fudgie the Whale isn't the only Carvel cake made using the same shape. The company uses the Fudgie mold for Santa cakes during the winter, and also for Ms. Fudgie cakes (she's Fudgie's girlfriend).
Fudgie celebrates 40
On June 1, 2017, Fudgie celebrated his 40th birthday, even "applying" for the mascot position with the New York Mets.
In 1967, Carvel bought a motel in Yonkers, New York, and converted it into the Carvel Inn, where it continued to operate as a hotel but also became site for the company's headquarters as well as franchisee conventions and "Sundae School," where new ideas were tried out. The location is now under new management as the Royal Regency Hotel.
Tom Carvel sells
In 1989, Tom Carvel sold his company to Investcorp for $80 million. He passed away a year later at the age of 84.
Carvel was sold to Atlanta-based Roark Capital Group in 2001. Focus Brands, a subsidiary of Roark Capital Group, currently owns Carvel along with other brands such as Auntie Anne's, Cinnabon, Moe's Southwest Grill, McAlister's Deli and Schlotzsky's, operating more than 3,330 stores nationwide.