Money Watchers: Ice cream company finds way to survive

Warwick Ice Cream

Warwick Ice Cream has been making ice cream in an art deco building on Route 2 since the 1940s, 10 years after the first Bucci started the company.

And while Warwick Ice Cream has made a good business out of distributing novelty ice cream products to area convenience stores, that business is probably going away.

The ice cream supplier has picked a master concessionaire to cover all of Southern New England, putting 30 jobs at risk.

"I've been a loyal distributor for 30 years. They're now restricting who can get this product," said Jerry Bucci.

The future may be in manufacturing, overseen by the fourth generation to tend to this business.

"Out of high school, I'd come into work after and help my family make ice cream," said Thomas Bucci. "I kind of learned it. I went to Penn State for some ice cream classes, and it's taken from there," said Thomas Bucci.

Monday's batch was made for a Brooklyn company selling gourmet organic ice cream. These kinds of niche jobs are where a small manufacturer can find a way to survive.

"There's nobody in New England any more. They've all gone out of business," Jerry Bucci said.

So the secret formulas are exactly measured out, and customers seek out where their special products can be manufactured.

"There's a shortage of facilities that do what we do," Jerry Bucci said.

A small manufacturing plant in the smallest state is staying alive by staying on the cutting edge.

Organic ice cream and specialty ice creams can be made at the Warwick plant. One of its biggest products is nondairy ice cream for dogs.