David and Penny Chapman of Markdale have been recognized as “Hall of Fame” members by Grocery Business Magazine along with some of the grocery business’s most famous names: Carmine Fortino, Anthony and Gus Longo and Galen Weston (Loblaws) in the Retailers category, and Michael McCain in their own category of Suppliers,.
The couple is among the initial group of 56 inductees, including “Legends” both living and posthumous. Their naming has launched the magazine’s Hall of Fame.
When Chapmans Facebook shared the news, it received about 670 comments, 575 shares and 3,200 likes from fans of the ice cream and the community-minded company.
This is the tribute that appeared with the honour:
“In 1973, Chapman’s Ice Cream founders David and Penny Chapman moved into the rooms above the old creamery in Markdale, Ont. and began their family—and their business.
“Chapman’s Ice Cream started out with four employees and two aging trucks. Today, Chapman’s is Canada’s largest independent ice cream company.
The magazine also highlighted the fact that Chapman’s Ice Cream is still a family-run company, with David, Penny and their son Ashley involved in every aspect of the business.
Among the Facebook comments were many from those who appreciated the products that are suited for special diets. Peanut free, gluten-free, lactose-free and no sugar added products are all made by Chapman’s.
Others were fans of the business as family-run, independent and Canadian, with its ice cream is made from 100 percent Canadian milk and cream.
Chapman’s proudly uses the Dairy Farmers of Canada’s new branding program that adds a “100% Canadian Milk” brand to labels.
Later, Chapmans was in the news following the devastating fire at Chapmans.
Many of those who sent congratulations on the Facebook post appreciated the company’s loyalty to its community after the fire, choosing to re-build in Markdale, and to pay its workers throughout.
Some recalled how not too many years ago, the company offered money to save Beavercrest Elementary School. Others spoke of the company purchasing and donating freezers for vaccine.
One woman wrote that her mother spent her last days in the Chapman House (the local hospice which received a $1 million donation) and her son works at the plant.
The profiles of the 56-member “inaugural class” of the Hall of Fame are included in the July/August issue of Grocery Business Magazine’s July/August which can be seen online.
Chapmans shared the news on the company website: “Congratulations to Penny and David Chapman on joining the Grocery Business Hall of Fame. The couple tirelessly worked on building Canada’s largest independent ice cream business for almost five decades.
“After all these years, Chapman’s is still a family-run business. David and Penny continue to come to work every day. And thanks to their son Ashley and over 750 dedicated employees, their dream of offering high-quality ice cream at a family-friendly price continues.”
Some recent changes for its workers included making the pandemic pay boost of $2 an hour that started in March 2020 permanent. In March, 2021, a $1 per hour shift premium was introduced for all employees that work on a straight night shift.
The company changed its shift work scheduling in 2019 to eliminate rotating shifts. Instead employees can work straight nights or a rotating day/afternoon shifts, switching every two weeks.
In June, the starting wage in production was boosted by another 50 cents to 18.50 per hour, while many positions such as the Distribution Center, Forklift Operators and Lab Technicians start at higher rates.
M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald