Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Foremost Dairies ... but No Milk Bottle

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Foremost Dairies ... but No Milk Bottle

Article excerpt

Byline: Sandy Strickland

Dear Call Box: I want to know if anyone else in Jacksonville remembers a giant replica of an old-fashioned milk bottle that was outside a little store, of sorts, at the former Foremost Dairies plant on College Street. It sold ice cream, milk and other dairy products. Now this is over 60 years ago so I can't trust the memories. My father was advertising manager for Foremost for over 20 years.

C.H.

Dear C.H.: Sorry, but we were unable to find anyone who remembers the giant milk bottle, nor were there any Internet references. We talked to Peggy Bryan, a Jacksonville native whose father, Cotton Paul, was senior vice president of Foremost. Her maternal grandfather, Paul Reinhold, headed the company.

Bryan recalls a store at the side of the plant at 2903 College St., but not the milk bottle.

"There were ones in other Foremost plants around the country, but I don't think we had one here in Jacksonville," Bryan said.

So we're throwing this one out to longtime residents or retired employees.

J.C. Penney, the famed department store magnate, by the way, is responsible for the company's founding. In 1931, Penney asked Reinhold to direct an ice cream and dairy operation in Florida. Reinhold had founded an ice cream company in Pennsylvania in 1916.

In 1930 he began using industrial refrigeration techniques to freeze ice cream at a plant, considered the first of its kind in the nation, according to his obituary published in the Times-Union in 1987. So Reinhold moved to Jacksonville, and the company was named Foremost Dairies, in honor of Penney's prize bull, Foremost.

During the years in which Reinhold was the chief executive officer, the company grew from a small operation serving several Southeastern states to an international conglomerate. By 1955, Foremost was the third-largest dairy company in the world with sales of $400 million, the obit and other Internet sources said. It eventually merged with Beatrice Dairies.

In 1978, the company was acquired by Louisville-based Flav-O-Rich. Operations ceased in 1991. Though a portion of the plant has been demolished, the milk processing and container storage facilities still stand on College.

Dear Call Box: My question concerns Publix Store No. 320 on Monument Road. The store has been demolished since January of this year, and it's supposed to be rebuilt and opening in September or October. …

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