In 1921, dairy farmers Percy and Charles Dake were busy making milk and butter, but the changing economy created an opportunity for ice cream production. They sold 4,000 gallons of ice cream in the first year, marking the beginning of “Dake’s Delicious Ice Cream.”
Purchasing a bright red Model-T delivery truck, they made deliveries of bulk ice cream to Saratoga, Troy, Schenectady, and Albany for $5 per 5-gallon can.
With the help of Robert McMullen, the ice cream plant was relocated to a new state-of-the-art building on Route 9N at a cost of $150,000. In the same year, McMullen built the biggest, most modern cow barn in the country. Despite all of its fine features, there was never a cow in the barn due to McMullen going broke with the stock market crash. That building eventually became the Stewart’s Shops ice cream plant in 1950.
The Dakes meanwhile became retailers, in 1945, purchasing a small dairy and ice cream business from Don Stewart’s, which became the very first Stewart’s Shop on Church Avenue in Ballston Spa. A Stewart’s Shop exists today in that very location. Today, there are 348 Stewart’s Shops in 31 counties across New York and southern Vermont.