- Business Advocacy
L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger presents John and Chris Fosselman a certificate of recognition for their family’s 100 years as an independent ice cream business. From left are Jill Fosselman, John Fosselman, L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Chris Fosselman, and Anna Fosselman.
In 1919, Prohibition hit some businesses hard. One of those was the brewery of Christian Anthony Fosselman in Waverly, Iowa. But he was adaptable. His bottling plant switched to soda pop, and he added a line of ice cream that became very popular. The company soon moved to Southern California and is still run by family: his grandsons John and Chris Fosselman.
From his plant on Fair Oaks in Pasadena, Mr. Fosselman not only made and sold ice cream, he also sold and delivered milk and butter with a fleet of 20 trucks. The depression was another hit to the business, and Mr. Fosselman lost his trucks, dairy business, and building. But he did not give up on his premium ice cream, establishing stores in South Pasadena and Highland Park. In 1941, happily, he opened a store in Alhambra.
After his death in 1946, three of his sons, Jim, Bob, and Bill, each took over and ran one of the three stores. In the early 1970s, the business was scaled back to just the Alhambra location. Over the years, working at Fosselman’s was a popular summer job for generations of Alhambra high school and college students and still is today.
In the 1980s two of Bob’s sons, Chris and John, began working in the store, and when their father and uncles retired, they bought them out, becoming the third generation to make and sell ice cream.
The brothers wanted to expand the business. To do that they returned to their grandfather’s business model of catering to the wholesale market. They found a niche in offering premium quality ice cream in small batches made to customer specifications, made fresh, and delivered quickly. They soon became a high quality independent supplier, and their retail customers proudly serve Fosselman’s ice cream.
The brothers soon learned there was growing demand for Asian and Hispanic flavors. They now offer flavors such as Oaxacan Chocolate, Horchata, and Dulce de Leche alongside Taro, Green Tea, Lychee, and Mango.
Fortunately for everyone, Fosselman’s continues to sell its premium quality ice cream at the Alhambra store at 1824 W. Main St. The phone number is 626-282-6533. And most importantly, the hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.