Turkey Hill (company)

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Turkey Hill Dairy is an American brand of iced tea, ice cream and other beverages and frozen desserts distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is based in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and owned by Kroger.

The company is operated independently from Turkey Hill Minit Markets, a chain of more than 260 gas station convenience stores that carry Turkey Hill products in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana.[1]

In 2011, Turkey Hill opened The Turkey Hill Experience, a 17,000-square-foot (1,600-square-meter) attraction based in Columbia, Pennsylvania [2] that pays homage to Turkey Hill’s history while highlighting its ice cream and iced tea-making processes.[3]

Turkey Hill Dairy[edit]


Turkey Hill Dairy began in 1931 during the Great Depression, when farmer Armor Frey began selling bottled milk to neighbors from his sedan.[4] Frey's family obtained the farm directly from Thomas and Richard Penn, sons of William Penn, and the sheepskin deed to the farm refers to "turkeyhill".[4] Turkey Hill Ridge had been given its name by the Conestoga Indians for the wild turkeys found there, so the family decided to name their dairy after the name on the deed and the nearby geographical feature.[5][6]

Armor sold the dairy to sons Glen, Emerson and Charles Frey in 1947. Milking the cows and delivering milk to customers provided these three families with a satisfactory income.[4]

In 1954,[7] the dairy began making ice cream, which sold well in Lancaster County, and in 1981, they started selling the ice cream through a few independent stores in Philadelphia.[4] Turkey Hill quickly began to expand into New Jersey and up the East Coast. In the early 2000s (decade) Turkey Hill's products were distributed in places further west, such as Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland. Over the next few years, Turkey Hill rapidly expanded its distribution area, and its teas are now sold in 45 states and the ice cream is now sold in 43 states.

Ownership and Leadership[edit]

The dairy and the stores were sold in 1985 to Dillons, a subsidiary of Kroger.[8] Despite the new ownership, the Frey family was heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the company, as Charles Frey, the youngest of company founder Armor Frey’s sons, remained as president. Charles was succeeded as president by Quintin Frey (son of Emerson Frey) in 1991. On May 28, 2013, The Kroger Company announced Quintin Frey’s retirement.[9]

Wind Turbines[edit]

In 2011, Turkey Hill partnered with PPL Renewable Energy and the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority to purchase the electricity generated by two General Electric wind turbines on the Frey Farm landfill adjacent to the company’s manufacturing facility. The wind turbines are capable of producing enough power to supply 25 percent of the company’s annual electricity demand.[10]


In 2012, Turkey Hill Dairy produced 29 million U.S. gallons (110,000,000 liters) of ice cream, 56.6 million US gallons (214,000,000 L) of iced tea and other drinks and 7.1 million US gallons (27,000,000 L) of milk. Since 2000, Turkey Hill has been among the nation's top-selling brands of refrigerated iced tea and, in 2011, was the fourth-largest producer of ice cream,[4] after Nestlé (Häagen-Dazs, Dreyer's/Edy Grand, Mövenpick), Unilever (Ben & Jerry's and Breyers Ice Cream), and Wells' Dairy (Blue Bunny).[5]

Ice Cream[edit]

Turkey Hill produces more than 60 full-time and Limited Edition flavors of ice cream, frozen yogurt and sherbet available in 48-US-fluid-ounce (1,400 mL), 1-US-pint (470 mL) sizes and 3-US-gallon (11 L) sizes for use by ice cream shops.[11] Specific product lines include Premium Ice Cream, All Natural Ice Cream, Stuff’d, Light Recipe, and No Sugar Added, in addition to frozen yogurt and sherbet.[11]

Iced Tea[edit]

The Turkey Hill Iced Tea lineup includes more than 20 seasonal and full-time flavors.[12] Traditional flavors are made with a manufacturing process that includes cold bottling, cold shipping and cold storage in stores.

Other Beverages[edit]

Other Turkey Hill beverages include fruit drinks (lemonade and fruit punch, among others), milk (fat free, 1% lowfat, 2% reduced fat, whole milk, and 1% low fat chocolate milk), drinking water, and egg nog distributed during the Christmas and Easter seasons.[12]

Partnerships and Sponsorships[edit]

Turkey Hill Dairy has partnerships with the Snyder's of Hanover, Gertrude Hawk Chocolates, and Tootsie Roll Industries' Junior Mints allowing them to produce and distribute theme-flavored ice cream based on the products of these companies.

Turkey Hill also maintains partnerships with several professional sports teams, including the Lancaster Barnstormers,[13] Camden Riversharks,[14] and the York Revolution,[15] all of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. Other sports partnerships include Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union,[16] Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies[17] and the New York Yankees,[18] and the National Football League’s Pittsburgh Steelers.[19] The company’s relationships with the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, and Pittsburgh Steelers include the manufacture of official team ice cream flavors.[20]

Turkey Hill Experience[edit]

The Turkey Hill Experience building in Columbia, Pennsylvania

The Turkey Hill Experience is a 17,000 sq ft (1,600 m2)[2] attraction based in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania that pays homage to Turkey Hill Dairy’s history while highlighting its ice cream and iced tea-making processes. It opened in June 2011 and is located in Columbia, Pennsylvania, just six miles from the company’s main production facility in Conestoga, Pennsylvania.[3]

Displays and Exhibits[edit]

The Turkey Hill Experience includes a variety of interactive displays aimed at entertaining both children and adults. In addition to learning about Turkey Hill Dairy’s history and the iced tea and ice cream manufacturing processes, visitors can also make their own virtual ice cream flavor, an experience that uses green-screen technology to allow visitors to star in a Turkey Hill TV commercial. An exhibit called the Turkey Hill Taste Lab,[21] opened in June 2013, Allows visitors to bring their virtual ice cream creation to life, a hands-on, educational experience where you develop and taste the flavor you created. Seating is limited in the Taste Lab, reservations are required and a nominal additional fee applies.


The Turkey Hill Experience is located in the former Ashley and Bailey Silk Mill, part of which was originally built in 1899.[22] The location had several owners and uses in the decades that followed, before being abandoned after the Tidy Products company stopped using it as a sewing factory in the late 1970s. The building was vacant for more than 25 years before Turkey Hill began to work with a developer to repurpose the building.[23]

Turkey Hill Minit Markets[edit]

Map of Turkey Hill stores in Pennsylvania.

In 1967, Charles and Emerson Frey opened the first Turkey Hill Minit Markets store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as a way to better market their dairy products.[24]

The stores operated as a separate business[25] - Farmland Industries - with the headquarters in the original store basement. In 1978, they built their current headquarters at 257 Centerville Road in East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

On December 19, 1974, the stores won a legal battle overturning the so-called blue laws that prohibited retailers opening on Sunday, and in 1976, they became the first company to offer self-service gasoline in Pennsylvania.[24]

In 1979, Turkey Hill Minit Market purchased 36 Louden Hill stores. In July 1985, they purchased a number of 7-Eleven stores and six Ideal Markets. That same year the Turkey Hill Minit Markets chain was purchased by Kroger. In Lancaster County, Turkey Hill Minit Markets were the overwhelming convenience store choice; in some cases, stores were located as close as three blocks apart. During the 1990s, Turkey Hill and competitors Sheetz and Wawa began overlapping their regions of service. John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil commented on the new situation in sworn testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary in March 2006:[26] "We are seeing healthy new retail competition emerging with brands such as Wawa, Sheetz, and Turkey Hill."

In 1998, Turkey Hill opened its 249th store in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. This store was the first of many stores to open with Food Service. Food Service offers fresh hoagies, sandwiches, pizza, and many other hot foods. Many new stores are built with food service and car washes. Beginning in 1999, new larger stores were opened with more of an emphasis on selling gasoline. About 200 of the 240 stores in Central Pennsylvania have gas pumps.[27]

A sign at a Turkey Hill convenience store.

Branding changes[edit]

In 2004, the stores adopted the current signage, featuring a stylized map of the contiguous U.S. Kroger also owns the Kwik Shop chain in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska; the Loaf 'N Jug Mini Marts in Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming; Quik Stop Markets in California and Nevada; and the Tom Thumb in Florida and Alabama - all of which use the same logo and font. The older stores will be getting face lifts with the new logo and store front.[28] Kroger has not indicated any plans yet to consolidate the marketing for their 800 convenience stores, but a new vice-president, Van Tarver, was named in June 2006 to oversee their convenience store and petroleum division.[29] Van Tarver left the company in 2014 to start his own business, Van Tarver Group.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Turkey Hill Store Locations
  2. ^ a b About the Turkey Hill Experience
  3. ^ a b "The Turkey Hill Experience tells company's story with interactive exhibits" PennLive.com
  4. ^ a b c d e Dairy history
  5. ^ a b About the Dairy
  6. ^ "A Look Inside Turkey Hill". Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Lancaster Farming. 2008-10-24. Retrieved 2009-08-27. [dead link]
  7. ^ Corporate Profile: Turkey Hill Dairy from DairyFoods.com
  8. ^ "Turkey Hill Dairy supplies ice cream to much of the East Coast". Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2009-08-27. 
  9. ^ Kroger Announces Retirement of Turkey Hill Dairy President Quintin Frey
  10. ^ Sustainability and environmental impact-reduction projects from Turkey Hill.
  11. ^ a b Frozen Desserts Turkeyhill.com
  12. ^ a b Cold Drinks Turkeyhill.com
  13. ^ "Turkey Hill Dairy partners with the Barnstormers". Conestoga, Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2010-02-20. 
  14. ^ Rivershark Sponsorships
  15. ^ York Revolution Sponsorships
  16. ^ "Turkey Hill Dairy partners with Philly Union". Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2010-02-20. 
  17. ^ Philadelphia Phillies Sponsorship
  18. ^ New York Yankees Sponsorship - NewYorkYankees.mlb.com
  19. ^ Steel City Gets Its Own Ice Cream Flavor - PRNewsWire.com
  20. ^ Sports Flavors - TurkeyHill.com
  21. ^ Turkey Hill Experience Taste Lab- TurkeyHillExperience.com
  22. ^ The Turkey Hill Experience - SusquehannaGreenway.org
  23. ^ The Turkey Hill Experience Site Preservation - TurkeyHill.com
  24. ^ a b Minit Market timeline
  25. ^ Kroger buys Turkey Hill Dairy and Farmland Industries
  26. ^ John Hofmeister testimony Archived August 14, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  27. ^ Minit Market Company History
  28. ^ About Fred Meyers
  29. ^ Kroger Promotes Tarver To Vice President Of Its Convenience Store And Petroleum Division

External links[edit]