Ice Cream of the Future
|Founded||New Grand Chain, IL (1988)|
|Headquarters||Paducah, Kentucky, U.S.|
Dippin' Dots is an ice cream snack, invented by Southern Illinois University Carbondale graduate Curt Jones in 1987. The confection is created by flash freezing ice cream mix in liquid nitrogen. The marketing slogan is "Ice Cream of the Future". The snack is made by Dippin' Dots, Inc., headquartered in Paducah, Kentucky.
The company of Dippin' Dots was officially founded in the town of New Grand Chain, IL (referred to by locals as simply "Grand Chain") in 1988. Jones began the company in his parents' garage. The company is now headquartered in Paducah, Kentucky. Because the product requires storage at temperatures below −40 °F (−40 °C), it is not sold in grocery stores, which cannot provide such extreme cooling requirements. Dippin' Dots are sold in individual servings at franchised outlets, many in stadiums, arenas, shopping malls, and in vending machines, as well as at theme parks such as Schlitterbahn, Six Flags, Cedar Fair, PARC Management, Kennywood, and SeaWorld.
In 1992, Dippin' Dots acquired a patent on its ice cream and, in 1996, sued its main competitor, Mini Melts for infringement. In 2007, the Court ruled against Dippin' Dots because the process of creating the ice cream was "obvious" rather than proprietary, and ruled the patent unenforceable because Dippin Dots had sold the product commercially for over a year before applying for the patent.
On December 19, 2008, the company announced that it was exploring the option of combining resources with another, unknown company. The spokesperson for the company stated "Dippin' Dots will continue to take orders and ship product as we have for the past twenty years".
On November 4, 2011, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Dippin' Dots states that it was due to a failure to reach an agreement with their lender, Regions Bank after attempts to do so. However, Regions Bank, according to the New York Times, had been trying to foreclose on Dippin' Dots for over a year.
On May 18, 2012, U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the purchase of the company by Scott Fischer and his father Mark Fischer. The Fischers co-founded Chaparral Energy in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They said company founder Curt Jones would remain as CEO and would attempt to increase from 1,600 sales locations to 2,000 and would keep the production and headquarters in Paducah where it employs 165 people.
The Dippin' Dots Franchising, Inc. brand earned rank 112 and then 175 on the Entrepreneur "Franchise 500" in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
Dippin' Dots has sponsored the "Celebrity Grand Slam Paddle Jam" celebrity table tennis tournament in Hollywood, whose proceeds benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
- "Curt Jones", Dippin Dots Website, accessed 14 Dec 2010
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- "What Went Wrong? Dippin' Dots: Why the USPTO Invalidated Its Patent and It Now Has Two New Competitors. www.dippindots.com. Part 4: Managing and Growing an Entrepreneurial Firm. Page 392
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- Dippin' Dots deal is done | News OK
- "Dippin' Dots Franchising". Entrepreneur magazine. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
- "Dippin' Dots Presents Celebrity Grand Slam Paddle Jam to Benefit St Jude Children's Research Hospital - Red Carpet". Life magazine. May 10, 2007
- Aubruner, Kathy. "Connecting the Dots". Village News. July 2003
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