Ice Cream Saved this Entrepreneur


By the time he turned 30 in 1972; T. Gary Rogers had earned a Harvard MBA and worked for the consulting firm of McKinsey & Co.  Surely, Mr. Rogers felt, he had the skills to launch a fine-dining chain in California and Texas.

Yet “we just flew right into the wall” he recalled later.   After that business failed, Mr. Rogers was down to about $2,000 of savings and had four sons to feed.   He and his business partner, William F. “Rick” Cronk, rebounded by acquiring Dreyer’s, a tiny maker of ice cream in Oakland, California in 1977 for $1 million.  They expanded rapidly and eventually supplied the Dreyer’s and Edy’s brands across the U.S.  In 2002, they agreed to sell the company to Nestle SA in a deal valued at more than $3 billion.

Dogged optimism made him successful, he said.  His years on the rowing crew at the UC Berkley, convinced him people were capable of far more exertion than they knew.    Mr. Rogers died last week while playing tennis at his home in Oakland.  He was 74.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Have a great week.


Dan Lacy

The Prophet of Profit

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