Interview With Turkey Hill Dairy
President Quintin Frey
1. Why create the Turkey Hill Experience?
We created the Experience for three main reasons: First, many folks over the years have asked for plant tours. It seems that people have a deep emotional connection to ice cream, especially Turkey Hill Ice Cream. They are curious about how ice cream is made and what makes it so good. The Experience will allow us to share our process.
Secondly, we created the Experience because we wanted to share with many people what each of us at Turkey Hill Dairy gets to experience every day a culture that cares about people, products, and community. That really takes us to the final reason, which is that the Turkey Hill Experience is a great way for us to further reinvest in our community and neighbors and share the heritage of Lancaster County. We couldn't wait to get started.
2. Why this location?
We chose the borough of Columbia in Lancaster County for several reasons. We are committed to preserving Lancaster County's rich farmland and culture and have long been strong supporters of the Lancaster Farmland Trust. As such, we refused to pave over any undeveloped fertile farmland. We also have a strong commitment to supporting our urban centers. By refurbishing a former silk mill that has been deserted for more than 25 years, we continue to stand true to both of these commitments.
Columbia also plays an integral role in the Turkey Hill Dairy story. My grandfather delivered the first official Turkey Hill Dairy product a quart of milk to a family in Columbia in 1931.
The decision clincher about where to build the Experience was the fact that this town, and this location in particular, needed someone to take a stand to help reinvigorate the economy and our community pride. The Experience will achieve both of these goals by providing job opportunities for residents, rehabilitating a blighted property in our downtown that has great historical significance, and creating an awesome tourist destination in which we will all be proud.
3. How long has this project been in the works?
The idea started more than 25 years ago when one of our suppliers and a well-known ice cream historian suggested that we build an ice cream museum. Over the years we investigated the possibility of plant tours and museums and looked at a couple of locations, but nothing ever materialized.
The project that is now known as the Turkey Hill Experience really began in 2008 when the town of Columbia and a developer approached us about this particular site. Over the next three years many ideas, contracts, regulations, and budgets were developed, modified, revised, completed, and fulfilled. It took the patient cooperation of the borough of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the County of Lancaster, the Kroger Company, Museum Partners Inc., Turkey Hill Dairy, and many other folks along the way to bring the Experience to life.
4. What are you most excited to share about the Frey family and the history of Turkey Hill Dairy?
I am so excited to share the story of Turkey Hill Dairy and how a small dairy, built on honor and honesty, grew to be the number-four ice cream and the number-one refrigerated iced tea brand in the nation without jeopardizing our core values. I hope that our story encourages other entrepreneurs to remain true to their core values while achieving their own dreams. Our story proves that it can be done even if it isn't always easy!
Also, the history of Turkey Hill Dairy and the historical significance of this region are notable, unique, and important to share. Most importantly, making ice cream and iced tea is fun. By showcasing the science, technology, and mechanics about how our products are made, we can provide a great learning experience and a great time for all!
5. What do you think visitors will be most surprised to learn and/or see at the Turkey Hill Experience?
I think they will be surprised by how friendly and caring our people are and by how much they will learn. We are not just creating another visitor center. We want the Experience to feel as Turkey Hill does; friendly, caring, and fun. I think people will also be excited to learn about our respect for people, our community and environment, customer service, and the quality of our products. They might also be surprised at just how many flavors of ice cream and iced tea one can make!