Joy Cone plant in Hermitage getting into the ice cream sandwich business

Local News

As part of the expansion, Joy Cone is adding massive ovens that can bake 5,000 pounds of wafers in an hour

HERMITAGE, Pa. (WKBN) – Joy Cone is expanding operations in Hermitage and Monday, we got a tour of the new space.

Joy Cone, which started in 1918, makes 1.5 billion ice cream cones a year. A new segment of its business keeps growing.

Joy is installing ovens that will make wafers used for ice cream sandwiches.

“It’s been a stable product for many years but we keep growing, picking up new customers and so we have to add this new oven,” said Joy Cone President David George.

Joy has another wafer line in Iowa but it needed the extra capacity.

These new ovens, which are 240 feet long, can handle 5,000 pounds per hour. The wafers will be baked between 350 and 450 degrees.

“From what I understand, wafers are a little tricky but we have a very good workforce that learns quickly and adapts well to situations,” said Jason Hemmis, plant manager.

Joy Cone has been adapting quite well since adding a cookie line in 2018. They’re called inclusions and are added to things like cookies and ice cream.

Joy has worked for years to get into this segment of the business supplying ice cream manufacturers.

“Add on to the building, hire new people and learn new aspects of baking. It’s fantastic,” Hemmis said.

Joy plans to add a dozen new workers for this line, bringing its total employment to 500.

It sped up plans for this wafer expansion because of high demand.

“People always want some treats,” George said. “It’s the type of thing you can reward yourself with and there aren’t a ton of calories in a cone, or wafter or in some cookies in ice cream.”

The wafers can be made into seven shapes — round, square and five sizes of rectangles. Flavors include chocolate, vanilla and graham cracker.

The new ovens get turned on next month.

The state is chipping in $450,000 of the $10 million project.

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