Interesting profile in NYT on the Joy Baking Group
Joy Baking Group has cornered much of the market with one guiding principle: When it comes to cones, people want what they know.
Joy now makes 41.3 percent of the cones sold in American stores, according to an April 2022 report from IRI, a data analytics company — and likely more, since it also manufactures private-label cones. Malcolm Stogo, a consultant for ice cream shops, estimated that 60 to 70 percent of the cones sold in food service are Joy’s.
“They have the capacity to control the business. They have the equipment to control the business,” Mr. Stogo said. “They aren’t depending on any one location, because they have factories all over the United States. So, frankly, I think they will be more dominant three to four years from now.”
Joy wasn’t always a juggernaut. Two Lebanese immigrants — Albert George, Mr. George’s grandfather, and a brother-in-law, Thomas J. Thomas — founded the company in 1918 in Brookfield, Ohio. It nearly went bankrupt in 1964 after a fire broke out in the factory. Mr. George’s father, Joe George, took over that year, and focused on building proprietary ovens and selling cones in stores. Within five years, the company was profitable.
Over time, smaller cone makers have struggled to keep up with the rising costs of operating. In the past few decades, many have closed or been acquired by Joy.
Joy is a private company, founded and still owned by the same family. Seems like an ideal company for Berkshire to own, if they ever want to sell out.