Penn State Creamery Now Few Clicks Away

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For most of the Penn State Berkey Creamery’s history, customer orders likely were placed by spoken word or by pen and paper, and local deliveries came via horse-drawn wagon and later milk truck. But as the iconic dairy plant celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, its geographically dispersed fans now have an ordering tool and fulfillment system befitting a contemporary, 21st-century retail operation.

A newly launched website, powered by a sophisticated e-commerce platform, allows customers to have the taste of Penn State delivered to their door. The new site gives creamery enthusiasts access to a range of products — including, of course, world-famous Berkey Creamery ice cream — and various shipping options, according to manager Tom Palchak.

“The new site gives Penn Staters anywhere in the country an opportunity to enjoy the creamery products they love but perhaps haven’t been able to get because they don’t live in the area,” Palchak said. “It really takes our customer service to a new level.”

Although the creamery previously had a more rudimentary online ordering system, the new site offers several previously unavailable features, Palchak noted. Now customers can:

  • Create accounts that enable them to save their information, reorder easily, check order status and provide user reviews of products.
  • See what ice cream flavors and other products are in stock and get email alerts as products become available.
  • Sign up for email updates, including new flavor notifications and other news.
  • Create their own ice cream coolers, cheeses boxes and coffee boxes.
  • Get real-time quotes for affordable shipping and have orders shipped to multiple locations with just one payment.

“We deliver anywhere in the continental United States, with ground shipping available to most of the East Coast, so shipping is more affordable than ever before,” Palchak said.

Penn State President Eric Barron was the recipient of the first order processed in the new e-commerce system. The Penn State Ag Council, an industry advisory group for the College of Agricultural Sciences, placed the order, which was delivered to Old Main in person by Palchak and Ag Council President Wayne Martenas.

Barron happily accepted the delivery of four half gallons of his favorite bittersweet mint ice cream.

Palchak pointed out that in addition to ordering food products, customers can purchase gift and souvenir items — such as mugs, hats and collectibles — on the website. Visitors to the site also can learn about the creamery’s history, the ice cream production process, the Department of Food Science and the renowned Penn State Ice Cream Short Course.

The creamery first began shipping products in 1986 when the student Dairy Science Club launched its cheese-box fundraiser using creamery cheese . Shortly thereafter, ice cream — kept frozen by dry ice — was shipped to customers who called in their orders. The first online orders began in the 2000s.

“Online sales have amounted to less than 1% of our total sales,” Palchak said. “But I would expect that percentage to grow significantly as people realize how easy it is to order their favorite ice cream through this new website. It’s a great way for creamery enthusiasts to enjoy our products and add a little bit of Penn State to their tables and family events.

Pictured: Wayne Martenas, left, president of the Penn State Ag Council, and Tom Palchak, right, manager of the Penn State Berkey Creamery, present President Eric Barron with the first order of ice cream placed on the creamery’s newly launched e-commerce website.

Photo credit: Mike Houtz, College of Agricultural Science.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.