Pittsburgh-based Edward Marc Brands has partnered with Thomas Tull, founder of Legendary Entertainment and minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and his wife, Alba, to expand its retail arm — The Milk Shake Factory — from two to 25 stores during the next three years.
In doing so, the popular dessert destination in Pittsburgh will shift to farm-fresh ice cream, innovative techniques and national expansion while featuring Edward Marc Brands chocolate.
The Tulls’ Rivendale Farms is at the heart of the partnership. The milk from the farm’s Jersey cows will be the key ingredient in a new soft ice cream that will be blended into The Milk Shake Factory’s decadent hand-spun shakes starting later this spring.
“This partnership gives us the financial ability to build an organization that will grow beyond Pittsburgh, but more importantly, it will help us create innovative technologies which will transform the retail experience,” said Chris Edwards, Edward Marc Brands’ ceo.
“The Edwards family has built an iconic and beloved local brand with The Milk Shake Factory, and our business and farm ventures are proud to be a part of the next generation of its growth and opportunity,” added Alba Tull, ceo of the Tull Investment Group.
A family business since 1914, Edward Marc Brands was rebranded in 2007 when the fourth-generation of chocolatier siblings assumed management. Under their leadership, the rapidly expanding manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of chocolate and ice cream products has launched national and global brands including Edward Marc Chocolatier, The Milk Shake Factory and Snappers.
The Milk Shake Factory has evolved from an old fashioned soda fountain to one of Pittsburgh's premier sweet spots with locations on the South Side and downtown.