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1957 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Thomas Carvel*

The Carvel Company

"I came to this country as a child and soon learned that if you work hard, you can make all your dreams come true."

Thomas Carvel was born in Athens, Greece, and came to the United States at the age of five. He worked as a shoeshine boy, canvasser, automobile mechanic, and sales manager. Wanting to go into business for himself, he began selling custard from the back of a truck. In 1934, Carvel created a new tube-type ice cream freezer, designed specifically for the soft ice cream industry. In 1947, his Carvel ice cream stores became the nation's first retail ice cream franchise. Carvel is credited as the first to introduce the marketing concept of "Buy One Get One Free." Then, in 1954, Carvel was the first in the industry to develop the gift certificate concept. A year later, he became the first CEO to advertise his products on radio and television. Today, his business has joined Cinnabon and Seattle's Best Coffee International.

* Deceased