I’ve been to Memphis quite a few times over the last ten years or so, but on my last trip I discovered something new. We were cruising the I-240 loop around the south side of Memphis when I had to pull a double take (fortunately, I wasn’t driving). There’s a giant tub of ice cream on a pole out in front of the Klinke Brothers plant right next to I-240.
Of course I had to Google that when I got back to my computer. Deciding what search terms to use stretched my Google-Fu skills but I found some interesting info. Turns out 2012 happens to be the 25th anniversary of the giant tub of ice cream. It was originally built in 1987 by Klink Brothers as an advertisement for their Angel Food brand of ice cream owned and manufactured by Klink Brothers. I’ve never noticed Angel Food in Nashville, but apparently it was a big regional brand in the Memphis area at the time. In 2006 Klink Brothers discontinued the brand and licensed the trademark to an ice cream company in Arkansas, so they could focus on all the Baskin Robbins franchise stores they own. So they had to take down the sign and change it from Angel Food to Baskin Robbins ice cream.
I gathered a few interesting facts about the ice cream sign from my internet surf (most of them from the Memphis Business Journal):
- It cost $15,000 to erect back in 1987, but Klinke execs are confident it “paid for itself in the first six months”.
- It’s 20 ft in diameter and hollow.
- It could hold 24,000 gallons of ice cream if you filled it with its smaller cousin commonly sold at the grocery. Someone actually did the math.
Changing the branding from Angel Food to Baskin Robbins took three days and required a crane to take the tub off its pedestal so a crew could work on it at ground level.
I grabbed my photos from Google Maps but you can see better ones if you follow the links above. As a long time Nashvillian I’ve felt pretty good about our superiority over Memphis, but this giant ice cream tub calls all that into question. I may have to send this post to someone in the offices over at Nashville’s Purity dairy.