Showcase AZ: Joy Cone

In Arizona, having an ice cream cone on a hot, summer day is not out of the ordinary.

Odds are any enjoyer of an ice cream cone has devoured a product of Joy Cone, the world’s largest ice cream cone manufacturer, which has their western facility in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Joy Cone manufactures most fast food chain cones, including Dairy Queen, McDonalds, and Burger King. They make cake, sugar, waffle cones and bowls in a multitude of shapes and flavors.

The Joy Cone Company started its operation 100 years ago in Hermitage, PA. With the rapid growth and demand for ice cream cones across the country, the company knew they needed a presence out west.

CEO David George looked at several locations in California, Utah and Arizona. With similar conditions as Hermitage and easy access to the I-40 and railway for transportation of their product, Flagstaff was an easy decision to call home.

“Flagstaff puts us in between two of our largest markets – California and Texas – so it’s ideal for distribution purposes,” George said. “As a manufacturing bakery, we didn’t want to set up shop where it is extremely hot for several months a year. The temperate weather of Flagstaff is ideal for a larger operation.”

When the company first set up shop in 2000, one aspect they had to adjust to was the higher elevation. “Baking at 7,000 feet is not as easy as one would think,” said Joe Pozar Jr., general manager of the Flagstaff facility. “It took us a little to master it, but, we were able to get it figured out and produce the same product we do everywhere else.”

The manufacturer originally purchased a 67,000 square-foot plant. Today, the facility has more than doubled to 183,000 square feet.

Home to now 140 employees, the Flagstaff location has been able to grow and attract Flagstaff workers. From Joy Cone headquarters, George can notice the attraction that Flagstaff brings, “We wanted to set up in an area that has a high quality of living. As we grow, we want to be able to attract new employees to join our operation and Flagstaff does that. I had the pleasure of living in Flagstaff for 10 years as we got started there and I loved living there.”

Focusing on how to best value their workers, Joy Cone became a 100 percent employee-owned company in 2016. As someone who has worked in all the positions of the company, Pozar Jr. believes it is important to see the development of all their employees, “Our mission is to produce and provide our customers with a safe and high-quality product while giving our employees an opportunity to grow with the company along the way. We believe in promoting from within the company and having employees that understand the business.”

The Flagstaff operation produces and ships half a billion cones per year, which George attributes to the staff.

“A great employee is someone that realizes how important their role is every single day, regardless of what position they have in the company. One of the great aspects of our Flagstaff operation, in particular, is the willingness to try new ideas. Our leadership in Flagstaff has set the tone for that, and our whole team has an open-minded approach, with the goal of always looking for ways to make a great product even better.”

Morgan Carr

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