Baskin-Robbins’ Tacoma Ties

With its 31 flavors, Baskin-Robbins is a cultural icon in the business of ice cream. And, while the original stores that would grow into Baskin-Robbins started in California, it was in Tacoma that one of the store’s founders discovered his love for ice cream.

Irvine “Irv” Robbins was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on Dec. 6, 1917. When he was 5, his family moved to Tacoma, where his father, Aaron, bought the Olympic Dairy company, which came with an ice cream factory — and Olympic Dairy Ice Cream Parlor.

By 14, Robbins was working part-time at the company’s ice cream parlor on 11th and Broadway in Court C in downtown Tacoma. He graduated from Stadium High School in 1935, attended University of Puget Sound, and graduated from the University of Washington in 1939.

Robbins moved to Glendale, California, where he created his first ice cream store, Snowbird Ice Cream, in 1945. After opening several more stores across the suburbs of Los Angeles, Robbins partnered with his brother-in-law, Burton Baskin, and the Baskin-Robbins empire took off.


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