Girl with magnifier

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sweet Thrills

I worked late yesterday and I was starving when I left the office. By the time I looked up from the computer it was already dark. Leslie was coming home to make dinner, but there was no way I could make it that long. It was snack time.

I was jonesing for sugar but what to do? The doughnut shop closes early and a piece of fruit from El Toro Market simply wouldn't cut it this time. I continued down the road and decided to case the nearby Circle K for something sweet.

Courtesy - Village News

I walked in, hadn't visited in ages and noticed that the fencing was still up inside near the front door, the stuff they had to install to keep kids from running out of the place with stolen beer. Clean inside, dingy out, some nefarious folks in the parking lot as usual but no visible tweakers. Wisegirl tried to sell me a promotion and I told her to amscray.

I looked around and considered my options. Was a little late for hostess cupcakes, the three pack was overkill and then there was the problem of hiding the evidence from my wife.

I looked long and hard at the Rice Krispy treats, which now come in several new flavors including butterscotch, but they are quite large and the decadence would have overwhelmed my already pinned guilt meter and I thought better of it.

Wasn't in the mood for skittles, my relationship with them has gone sour since the hard one broke my tooth a few months ago, hmmmm?

Then I saw them, like a beautiful mirage on the other side of the store, a shining city on a hill, there stood a Thrifty Ice Cream counter, at least ten different flavors nestled happily in their tubs.

When did this happen? When did the Circle K start selling ice cream? I asked Juan, the man behind the register and he told me that they had been there for a few months but confided that ice cream dried him up and he did not personally partake in the frozen confection.

I was informed that the favorite flavors were readily apparent by their paucity, the green which I assume is pistachio and the synthetic looking multicolored swirl, of undetermined origin, the scarcest in the tub. I opted for a personal favorite, Rocky Road, in a cup thank you, but was notified of various available container options including the waffle cone.

The base of the kiosk said Bon Suisse company and I made a mental note to check them out.  Thrifty Ice Cream at the Circle K. I would have to do some digging.

For those of you that are not aware, Thrifty Ice Cream is the stuff that they sell at Rite Aid. It made the news a few decades ago when it received its kosher certification as the cleanest ice cream around and is definitely a favorite of many people. What makes it different? Here's what I found out about Thrifty:

Harry and Robert Borun, and their brother-in-law Norman Levin, founded Borun Brothers, a Los Angeles, California drug wholesaler in 1919. Eventually they opened a few Los Angeles retail outlets under the name Thrifty Cut Rate. The first drug store was located at 412 S. Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, across the street from the Broadway Department Store.

“Save a nickel, save a dime.
Save at Thrifty every time.
Save a dollar and much more,
at your Thrifty Drug Store!”

By 1950 they had one hundred stores, all operating in California. They eventually expanded to the Pacific Northwest and Nevada and later on, down into Mexico. Thrifty initially bought their ice cream from local wholesalers but eventually had to start producing their own to meet heavy demand. In 1940 they purchased Borden Ice Cream Company's existing Hollywood factory for $250,000.00.

Thrifty makes the ice cream for at least 559 Rite Aid stores, Farrell's Ice Cream Parlors and Costco. They won the Orange County Register's prize for best ice cream in 2010 as well as numerous gold medals elsewhere. The secret? A flash-freezing technique in the manufacturing process to minimize the size of the ice crystals. Then a final freeze at −60 degrees for at least a day before being shipped.

Flavors include Chocolate Malted Krunch, Butter Pecan, Mint 'N Chip, and Rocky Road and Circus Animal Cookies, made with real Mother's Cookies as well as many more. They use real fruit, cookies, real whole California milk with a butterfat content of 10.25% butterfat, far less than their competitors.

They also pioneered their own cylindrical scoop design way back when. And did I mention that the stuff is cheap?

Somewhere along the line Thrifty bought Pay Less. Thrifty Corp. itself was acquired by Pacific Lighting, the parent of Southern California Gas, in 1986. So who in the heck is Bon Suisse? A California company, they have held an exclusive license to use the Thrifty brand name and sell Thrifty ice cream in Mexico, Latin America, and the Middle East since 1995.

And they apparently have worked out a deal with Circle K. But here is where it gets a little squirrely. In October of last year Walgreens bought Rite Aid and though they have not yet announced if they are planning on jettisoning the much loved ice cream, in fact they are definitely considering the big ixnay. But not to worry, you can always swing by the Circle K. For now.

Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

Nice sugar induced historical blog.
Robert, when are you going to learn about nutrition?

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOD - I had no idea!!! Thrifty ice cream is my all-time favorite!!! Chocolate chip, butter pecan, oh yeah baby..... pistachio.... yes!!
Well, I can see I will be heading out East Mission on occasion when my sugar level is low enough to cheat ;)
We used to go to Farrell's too - and knew it was Thrifty ice cream.
Oh you little trouble maker.....

Anonymous said...

Cookies and Cream for me, Mocha Almond Fudge for Michelle and Rocky Road for Max. The Rite Aid here in Temecula, on Winchester and Nicolas, provides the largest servings of any store that I've been too. Maybe it's the heat that we get out here. A regular single scoop is like a double! A double is like four scoops. Talked to the manager who had knowledge of an offer by Costco to buy out Thrifty Ice Cream that was turned down. Asked him if they planned to keep the ice cream counter, he said that he didn't know, but thought that they would, as the ice cream, after the pharmacy, was the most profitable thing in his store. JH

Sanoguy said...

The first anonymous sounds like your Doctor!!!

Jan Duggan said...

I grew up on Thrifty ice cream. Haven't had any since I left California a long time ago. Now I can look for Circle K and RiteAid. Thanks, Robert. Jan Duggan