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May 9, 2008

Snowbird Ice Cream Shop — Where Baskin-Robbins was born


Look at the 1945 photo above.

What do you see?

From that single store in Glendale, California, opened by 28-year-old returning World War II veteran Irvine Robbins soon after leaving the Army, came the Baskin-Robbins ice cream empire which, by the time Robbins retired in 1978, was selling 20 million gallons of ice cream a year in more than 2,000 stores around the world.

About halfway through Valerie J. Nelson's excellent May 7, 2008 Los Angeles Times obituary of Robbins was this nugget about what Robbins's dairyman father told both him and Burton Baskin, Robbin's brother-in-law and future partner, when Baskin opened his own store, Burton's Ice Cream, in Pasadena, California in 1946: "Following the advice of Robbins' father, the pair purposely avoided starting out in business together. He had warned that partnering right away would cause them to squelch too many of their own ideas as they compromised in an effort to get along."

Way beyond profound to my way of thinking, and the best business advice I've read this month.

Sure, Hewlett and Packard, Brin and Page, Wozniak and Jobs, Yang and Filo and many other teams created empires resulting from a fortunate pairing of gifts.

How many other combined efforts crashed and burned, though, when the founding partners prematurely drank the same Kool-Aid?

There's something to be said for everyone taking their own road, at least in the beginning.

Here's a link to Dennis Hevesi's complementary May 7, 2008 New York Times obituary of Robbins (below).


May 9, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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I wonder how long it would take for 60 people to eat all the ice cream in 110 Baskin-Robbins stores...

Posted by: Flautist | May 9, 2008 2:59:08 PM

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