Velvet Ice Cream Company

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Click here to visit Velvet Ice Cream Company's website.


Originating in 1914, the first Velvet Ice Cream plant was located along the north fork of the Licking River, behind Ritchey Brothers Confectionery. Advances in refrigeration helped the business to grow, and in 1960, they outgrew their original location and moved to the current building along State Route 13 in Utica, Ohio.[1]

The process of taking Velvet from a small town in Licking County to the larger markets was not an easy process, and the Dager Family had to fight several legal battles in order to change the dairy license procedures of the time that would not allow them to sell in many Ohio cities.[2] Since overcoming that obstacle, the business has continued to grow, and in 2009, Velvet was producing over five million gallons of ice cream a year and attracting more than 150,000 visitors.[3]

A Family Business

Joseph Dager, a Lebanese immigrant, started the company with just three ice cream flavors, and the business has stayed in the family ever since. Joseph’s son, Charlie Dager, was the first to take over the company, but in 1958 Charlie passed away suddenly at the age of 44, and his son, Joe Dager, stepped in to fill his shoes. Joe was only 18 years old and in his first year of college, so the rest of the family also pitched in to help keep the business running.[4] Now in its fourth generation of ownership, the great granddaughter of the founder, Luconda Dager, has stepped into the role of president with her sisters filling other prominent roles in the company.[5]

Ye Olde Mill

Built in 1817, three separate grist mills have existed on the property and for a while it served as the Park Pan Dance Club and the Tom Thumb Miniature Golf Course. Velvet Ice Cream took it over when they moved locations and it was opened to the public in 1970. Ye Olde Mill was almost torn down, but when the Dagers were trying to come up with a name for their new “high premium ice cream” they turned to the mill for inspiration and decided to call it Velvet 1817, after the year in which the mill was built. The packaging included a picture of the mill which attracted people to visit the site, and it was determined that the building needed to be preserved. The mill was turned into a museum and 1880s-style ice cream parlor which allowed visitors to enjoy the old landmark.

In 1986, a terrible fire destroyed the structure and all that was left was the mill’s water wheel. The Dager family rebuilt the mill using wood from old buildings around Ohio and eventually was reopened to the public.[6] In 2000, the Dager family added on a Visitors Center that resembled an early 1900’s dairy barn.[7] The Ye Olde Mill gets continues to be a popular destination, especially during the annual Utica Ice Cream Festival.



  1. “The Dager Brothers of Velvet Ice Cream”, The Legend Magazine, April 1996.
  2. “The Velvet Ice Cream Company ‘Distinctly Different’ Flavoring”, The Magazine, January 1983.
  3. “Forth-Generation Dager Tapped to Lead Velvet”, The Advocate, October 16, 2016.
  4. “The Velvet Ice Cream Company ‘Distinctly Different’ Flavoring”, The Magazine, January 1983.
  5. “Velvet Ice Cream: New Leadership”, The Advocate, September 4, 2009.
  6. “A Well Known Landmark” The Licking County Historical Society Quarterly, 1997.
  7. “Utica’s Ye Olde Mille Dedicates Visitors Center”, Mount Vernon News, April 28, 2000.