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Gunther’s Quality Ice Cream Company was established in April 1940, owned and operated by Herman “Pop” Gunther and his wife, Iva.
The Gunther’s worked for a small firm that had opened a chain of ice cream stores throughout the Bay Area. When the company folded after 20 years, the Gunther’s decided to open their own business, but in a warmer climate. Feeling the idea would work on a one-store basis, the Gunther family (Pop Gunther, Iva and son Dick) moved to Sacramento and bought a little store on the corner of 5th Avenue and Franklin Boulevard.
The store was 12 feet wide and 40 feet long. Ice Cream was manufactured on the premise. Business was all carryout, hand-packed pints and quarts. The biggest volume was in ice cream cones, which sold for five cents each.
World War II changed the lifestyles of many people, and the Gunther’s business was strongly affected. Sugar and butterfat were rationed and Gunther’s was only allowed 80% of the monthly supplies used previously. Pop decision was to continue producing a quality product that his customers had come to expect. Because he made less ice cream, the store remained open on average of only 14 days per month.
After the war the Gunther’s decided to open a larger store. Wanting to stay in the neighborhood where they had been so successful, they opened a new store in 1949 at it’s present location, on the corner of 3rd Avenue and Franklin Blvd. This was the beginning of an even more successful time.
The Gunther’s operated the ice cream store until 1968. Mr. Gunther passed away in 1963 and their son, Dick Gunther, passed away soon after in 1967. Mrs. Gunther unable to continue operating the store sold the business to Carl Buchell that year. (Iva Gunther passed away in 1989.)
The present owner of Gunther’s Ice Cream, Rick Klopp, was employed in 1969 at the age of 22 by Carl Buchell. Rick became manager of the operation 5 years later, and in 1974, Rick bought the business from Carl Buchell.
Rick and his wife Marlena continue to manufacture the product on the premise and maintain the quality based on the original recipes left by the Gunther family. Although some moderations have been made, the store looks almost the same as it did when it opened. Rick and Marlena are concerned with the high quality of their product and they work hard to ensure that quality. Gunther’s Ice Cream now sells ice cream to over 60 locations, in and adjacent to the Sacramento Area. QUALITY is still the foremost concern.
With the change of times you can still find good old fashion ice cream at a good old fashion business.