Dorri Partain
Assistant Editor

I Vote, you vote, we all vote for ice cream!

Generations of Kansas Citians “voted” for Velvet Freeze Ice Cream after the St. Louis brand expanded operations to Kansas City. Jacob Martin, once president of the Union Ice Cream Company, opened his own stores as The Original Double Dip Ice Cream Company in 1934, selling double-scoop cones for 5 cents.

The following year, Martin merged his business with the owners of the Crispo Cake Cone Company to create a new corporation, Velvet Freeze, Inc., with 11 locations specializing in offering double-scoop cones. Within the next ten years, Velvet Freeze had expanded operations to Kansas City and Topeka.

By December 1947, Velvet Freeze opened a new manufacturing plant and flagship store at 500 E. 31st Street, at Gilham Rd., offering up to 15 flavors during a time when grocers had little options for frozen treats.  As a manufacturer, Velvet Freeze could offer specialty items for holiday entertaining; Thanksgiving ice cream that when sliced revealed a chocolate turkey inside or Christmas tree slices for Yuletide gaiety for a mere 39 cents.

Over the decades, Velvet Freeze expanded locations and flavors. In 1951, 28 locations offered a new product, fruit punch, made even better by adding Velvet Freeze ice cream. Locations, including 3401 Independence Ave., sold cake cones, sundae toppings, and ice cream scoops- anything and everything needed to enjoy your favorite flavor.

Every May, Velvet Freeze celebrated their anniversary with special offers and roll back pricing, reminding customers their products were “made daily by skilled ice cream specialists and rushed to our stores fresh and at the peak of flavor perfection, not shipped from distant cities”.

Prior to the company’s 44th anniversary in 1976, new owners BGW Enterprises renamed all the Kansas City locations Granny’s Velvet Freeze Ice Cream & Sandwich Parlors, featuring mascot Granny Flipper Dipper. The change apparently didn’t go well, and by 1979 a new owner went back to the original name; only 8 stores remained, including a store at 5515 St. John Avenue.

By November 1980, Velvet Freeze was done. A public auction at the Gilham store liquidated all the equipment and fixtures. Locations in St. Louis closed as well, except for a lone store at 7335 W. Florissant Ave, which still uses the original recipes.

This metal tab top button dates to the late 1960’s.