Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Under the Sign of the Revolving Stein"

The following article is taken from the August 1963 Frostopics Vol.1 No.2 A Newsletter for the Frostop family.
T.W. Ganus - Frostop Success Story
The year was 1931, a depression year. A 15 year old boy, fresh from the farm, arrived in New Orleans to work in a Drive-In owned by an older brother. This A&G Drive-In represented an investment of only $1800. This is how T.W. Ganus got his start in the food business.
The next 15 years saw this $1800 Drive-In grow into one of the South's largest restaurant chains, and T.W. Ganus from a dish washer to the position of Executive Vice President and Personal Director of A&G. In 1946, he left to establish a wholesale food and catering business in Indianapolis, Indiana. He returned to New Orleans in time to get in on the booming soft ice cream business.
The J. Hungerford Smith Company representative approached Ganus with the idea of opening a Frostop Drive-In. With typical foresight, he saw an opportunity with many areas for growth. In the Fall of 1954 Ganus opened the South's first Frostop Drive-In., under the "sign of the revolving stein", with his younger brother Melvin, as managing partner.
With the goal of year round operation, Ganus felt that a good food program was needed and a limited menu of high quality sandwiches was selected. This called for some changes in the building and equipment plans. The result was a new design of both the building and equipment to allow for fast service and high quality. Customers came from all parts of New Orleans to the self service windows to enjoy the Frostop Root Beer and the quality Frostop menu.
The perfecting of formulas and the copyrighting of the trade names has enabled Frostop operators to enjoy exclusive use of the highest quality products. The first item copyrighted was the Lot-O-Burger and later the Butterburger. These are available only to Frostop operators.
The sucess of the first Frostop attracted much interest. The second unit was opened on the opposite side of town. Now operated by Hugh Wyatt, he has guided its growth from $3000 monthly sales to $15,000. The recent addition of an enclosed seating area for 70 customers has enhanced his operation. Hugh is completing plans for his second Frostop to be opened soon.
C.A. Cox opened his Frostop in Kenner on the Airline Highway. for many years the Kenner Frostop had only outside window service and a reputation for good products. the recent air-conditioned enclosed dining area he built gives him both inside and outside traffic. Cox and Ganus opened two stores together in Algiers and Westwego.
Ralph Gall opened a store in Eunice, Louisiana, and another in Lafayette, Louisiana, and nearly exhausted himself trying to spend as much time in each store as possible. Ralph sold the Eunice Frostop to Mrs. Helen Doty and the Lafayette Frostop to Paul Newman. He then built his store on St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, into one of the highest volume Frostops in the area. He is building two more Frostops in new shopping centers to open in two or three months.
Ted Sternberg a jet pilot in the Korean conflict, became interested and opened a Frostop near a shopping center in East New Orleans. This was the beginning of several that now total four in New Orleans and, with partner Dick Sitton, three more in Little Rock, Arkansas. With a total of seven stores, Ted is running more Frostops than any other single operator.
The identity of the Frostops has been made quick and easy by the use of the revolving stein sign. This unique replica of a frosted mug filled with Root Beer, revolving atop the Frostop building and catching the eyes of passing motorists as it turns on a pole near the street,, has become a landmark all over the country. First used in the New Orleans area, it rapidly caught on. It was copyrighted by Ganus to limit its use to Frostop operators. Copyrighted designs and patents were sold to Frostop to be used on a national scale.
By this time inquiries were coming in from other cities and states. Frostop Drive-In's were opened in several cities in surronding areas. Frostops now in operation in Louisisana are: Lloyd Bearden, three Drive-Ins in Baton Rouge; LeRoy Lunceford, Raceland ad Thibodeaux; Hebron Leblanc, Gretna, George Reynolds, two Drive-In's in New Orleans; Bill Wahl, Algiers, Westwego, and New Orleans; Emile Martin, Harahan; Milton Fogg, Slidell; Marion Johnson, Shreveport; Wayne Kendricks, LaPlace; Rudy Kirns, Mandeville; Alva Dukes, Bogulusa; Louis Sanders, West Monroe; William McKee, New Iberia; Gaston Wilson, Morgan City and Houma; Mrs. Helen Doty, Eunice; and Paul Newman, Lafayette. As this issue goes to press five new Frostops are going in - two in New Orleans, one in Chalmette, one in Crowley and one in Batesville, Miss.
Due to his success in Louisiana and his proximity to the area, the Frostop management encouraged Mr. Ganus to become distributor in Mississippi. Mrs. Keller operates in Picayune; Dick and Ed Ward in Hattiesburg; Ray McPhail in Laurel; Jack Capelle in Greenwood; Charles Weeks in Greenville; and John Wilson operates two Frostops in Jackson. Mr. Ganus also distributes to two stores in Florida- Guy Hamilton in Jacksonville and Mr. Alumbaugh in Bradenton.
From the first store opening Ganus us sought better equipment and methods of production. Asked what he believed was the most important factor in the success of his distributorship, Ganus stated that to be successful a store must serve the finest products available, render quick and courteous service and the store and its employees remain spotlessly clean at all times. He stated further that no store ever failed to make a success when this formula is applied.
In December 1959, Ganus became president of Frostop Products Inc. and directed the national franchising Company from headquarters in New Orleans. During this time, the first Frostop outside the U.S.A. was opened in Winnipeg, Canada. the northwest states were opened and new Frostops sprang up. Traveling all over the United Sates took a great deal of his time, and in January of 1962, Ganus, with a desire to devote more time to his own distributorship, returned the national management of Frostop to the J. Hungerford Smith Company.
Since then Ganus has devoted his time to upgrading the Frostops in his area. Jim Faull, who had for the past three years managed three Frostop Drive-Ins, joined Ganus in May, 1963, with the purpose of aiding Frostop operations in the area in every possible way.
T.W. Ganus, a Frostop success story.
To see a copy of the original article:

5 comments:

  1. WHERE (location) in New Orleans was the 1954 Ganus Frostop located, please? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello,
    I am a decendent of Ganus. I would like a copy of the pictures here, how may get them?
    V/R
    Fred Ganous

    ReplyDelete
  3. There was also one one Airline hwy next to East Jefferson High School. All of us would skip school at P.E. class and go there an get a root beer and hamburger.

    ReplyDelete
  4. There was also one one Airline hwy next to East Jefferson High School. All of us would skip school at P.E. class and go there an get a root beer and hamburger.

    ReplyDelete