OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KWCH) William Henry (Bill) Braum, Newton native and founder of Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Stores, died Monday (March 23) at home on his farm near Tuttle, Okla., at the age of 92.
Braum, born in Newton in 1928, grew up in Emporia. The now-nationally-recognized company bearing his name says as a young boy, Braum began his career by helping his father in the family business: "a small butter and milk-processing plant in Emporia." Braum's says ice cream processing became part of the operation in the 1930s.
"Bill Braum’s expertise and roots in the processing and marketing of dairy products made him a true innovator. Braum gave real meaning to the term “vertical integration.” He was a dairyman, farmer, processor, manufacturer, and retailer of dairy products," the company says.
Braum graduated from the University of Kansas in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and from there, began working full-time for his father.
Braum's says Braum and his father in the early 1950s, decided to specialize in retail stores and sole the wholesale part of the business.
"Following that, they developed a chain of retail ice cream stores in Kansas called "Peter Pan Ice Cream," Braum's says.
The company grew, eventually leading Braum to build stores in Oklahoma under the name, "Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Stores." He opened 22 stores in 1968, the company says.
In 1975, the Braum dairy heard moved from Emporia to a new home in Tuttle, Okla., Braum's says. The farm near Tuttle included a bakery, dairy, processing plant, milking facility and a few thousand calves. Braum's family opened a second milking operation on the Braum Farm between Shattuck, Okla. in western Oklahoma and Follett, Texas in the Texas panhandle.
"From the ground up, Braum’s consistently controls every aspect of the operation, including farming, manufacturing, retailing, trucking, advertising, and real estate," his company says. "All of his hard work was to provide the very best product at the very best price to his customers."