In this exclusive ABC News special, Ralphs co-owner and co-founder Ralphs Ice Creams cofounder and CEO Mike O’Brien tells the story of the ice cream company’s meteoric rise from the ashes of the former Ralphs.
In 1984, O’Briens father, the late Michael O’Malley, had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
O’Mala died in 1994, leaving his son with a legacy that included Ralphs, a chain of ice cream stores and a brand that would go on to become a major force in the frozen-food industry.
O’Brien, now 64, was one of the founders of Ralphs and his son and successor, Ralph O’Donnell, is the current CEO.
O’Malley and O’Donnel have had a complicated relationship since they started the company in 1984, when O’Neill bought Ralphs for $7.5 million.
The relationship had its ups and downs over the years, with the elder O’Reilly becoming a huge fan of the younger O’Connors brand, and Ollie’s sons growing tired of their father’s lavish lifestyle.
By the time they decided to build Ralphs from the ground up, OBrien was already a wealthy man.
His son, Ollies, had a business in California, and in 1998, the elder Michael OMalley sold the company to Ralphs’ younger brother, Bob O’Sullivan, who inherited the family business.
A few years later, the brothers moved to Texas, and by 2002, OLLIE had joined the O’Connells as CEO.
That meant that Bob Olli was no longer at the helm of the family company, and he took the reins as CEO of the company.
While Ollicell was busy building a massive empire, the younger brother was in a different league.
For the first time, Olli had a successful business model, one that allowed him to build a massive company that would make him rich.
He set out to reinvent the ice-cream business, and his company was the first to offer customers a way to shop for ice- creams, whether it was in-store or online.
Ralphs began offering ice- cream in the form of a cone or a roll.
“Ralph’s Ice Cream had to be a product of its time, and the company was built around that,” Ollis O’Hare, who started the Ralphs franchise in 1992, told ABC News.
This is what the world would have been like without us.
When you look back at what happened after we were out of business, there was an opportunity to build the brand, to grow the business and to get a foothold in other markets, Oller said.
Then things got bad.
We weren’t really able to grow fast enough, and we had to make some changes,” O’Connor told ABC.
Even though Ollillans company was thriving, the family had grown tired of his lavish lifestyle and lifestyle-driven philosophy.
Bob Olllli said his family is proud of the legacy that Ralphs left behind, including its ability to grow and diversify the ice brand, which now includes more than 1,200 stores across the United States and Canada.
I’ve always had a strong desire to be involved in this company, but the company didn’t make that happen for me,” Olli said.
“I wanted to go back to the basics, to build something for my children.”
But Olliss was still not satisfied with his legacy.
His family still wanted to continue the family-run business, so he and Bob Olin decided to leave Ralphs in 2017, and Bob became CEO.
“Bob Olli has had a very successful career as an entrepreneur, but it’s not easy to leave something like this,” Olin said.
“I don’t think you can have that experience and then be happy with your career when you’ve done something as simple as going back to your roots,” Oli said.
The Ollises have spent the last five years in the midst of a difficult decision.
They’ve already cut back on expenses, and are looking to cut down on some of the things that were holding them back.
But their biggest challenge is the company’s continued growth.
Over the last few years, the company has grown from a franchise to a full-fledged retail chain with more than 2,400 stores.
But the Ollides say the company needs to get more aggressive in pursuing new opportunities in the retail space.
“The key is to do things that are not sustainable,” OLLI said.
“I think we have to look for new opportunities.”