|Ben & Jerry's Truck|
|Miami New Times gets free Ben & Jerry's.|
Today is Free Cone Day, a made-up holiday that's celebrated throughout the land. And why not? It's not every day a company celebrates by giving something away. But then again, Ben & Jerry's is no ordinary company. The ice-cream manufacturer is politically incorrect, satirical, and socially conscious. Its business model is a corporate nightmare. But, with it all, it has garnered a loyal fan base that includes rock stars who clamor to have an ice cream named after them (rumor has it the company turned down the Rolling Stones).
In 1978, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield took their life savings of $8,000 and opened an ice-cream shop in an old gas station in Burlington, Vermont. They celebrated their one-year anniversary by giving away free ice cream. Thus, the very first Free Cone Day was born.
Now, more than 30 years later, Ben & Jerry's
is no longer a small Vermont shop. It's a division of Unilever, with multiple factories and "scoop shops" around the world. But travel to Burlington and you'll soon see that the simple joy of making ice cream remains. The offices and main factory are covered in cow murals. Meeting rooms are named for ice-cream flavors, and a fully operational ice-cream parlor sells treats to employees for a dollar.
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