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Here's The Scoop

Ben & Jerry's on powerful promotions.

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This story appears in the December 1997 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

It began with $12,000, two big sweet tooths and a complete disregard for rules. It snowballed into a $167-million-per-year company with more than 160 "scoop shops" known collectively as Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. Famous for their socially responsible business practices and unique ice cream flavors, and Jerry Greenfield lead the pack in combining a quality product and social activism with creative and unusual promotions.

From their first ice cream shop, housed in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont, Cohen and Greenfield have led their business with their hearts, believing that business has a responsibility to give back to the community. "The more you support the community, the more it supports you by purchasing your product," explains Mitch Curren, the PR Info. Queen. (Her title exemplifies the unconventional nature of Ben & Jerry's.) Cohen and Greenfield continue their efforts by donating 7.5 percent of the company's pre-tax earnings to social awareness projects through the Ben & Jerry's Foundation, which disburses the money to nonprofit organizations, and by creating products such as Rainforest Crunch ice cream and Peace Pops ice cream bars that get their messages to the public.

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