Object Record

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Object ID 2008.16.01
Object Name artifact
Date 195?
Description Gifford's Country Style Carmels
Net Weight One Pound
Cream cloth cover box displays milk maid and farm animals.
Lists locations in Silver Spring and Bethesda, MD
Bailey's Cross Roads and Arlington, VA

The first Gifford's Ice Cream and Candy Co. opened in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 1938 - and two years later a second shop was established in nearby Bethesda. Others sprung up in Arlington and in Bailey's Crossroads, both in Virginia, in 1948 and 1956. And in the 1960s, two more shops opened in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Burke, Virginia. These original stores featured homemade candies, waitress service, and individual hot fudge pitchers for sundaes. During the 1950s and 1960s, loyal fans included President Dwight D. Eisenhower and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Gifford's was also a favorite of Takoma Park native and future movie star Goldie Hawn.

John Gifford, the company's founder, ran the business himself until the early 1980s. After he passed away in 1983, the reins were passed to his son, Bob. Unfortunately, the business was not in good financial condition, nor were there the proper systems in place to successfully franchise. Eventually, Bob Gifford closed up the last store and sold whatever remained of the business.

In 1987 the Hunt family, longtime fans and customers of Gifford's, bought the rights to the name, trademark, recipes, and packaging. They reopened the business in a new location in Bethesda, Maryland - across the street from the original Gifford's on Wisconsin Avenue. In 1999, the Hunt family sold the business to their longtime manger, Marcelo Ramagem, and his father Sergio. In 2002 the Ramagems moved the store from Wisconsin Avenue to a new spot on Bethesda Row, adjacent to a new movie theater and many restaurants. Sales increased steadily, and Gifford's thrived in its new location - adding a wholesale business that served the surrounding restaurants, hotels, and caterers.

In late 2002, Neal Lieberman bought out Sergio’s interest in Gifford’s and began working with Marcelo to bring Gifford’s back to its glory days.