In Texas, memories of frozen pellets and advertisements for ‘The Ice Cream of the Future’ go hand in hand with burnt soles and sweating away the summer at theme parks.
Few know about Dippin’ Dots’ other Texas connection. Company CEO Scott Fischer, 40, who will speak at the 2020 Victoria Chamber Annual Banquet on Thursday, spent his childhood summers on a family ranch in the Victoria area.
“Growing up, they would come down about twice a year,” Fischer’s cousin, Lynnie Jalufka, said. “My uncle (Fischer’s father) comes down three times a year now. He still has family in Victoria.”
Mark and Susan “SuSu” Fischer, Scott Fischer’s parents, both attended Cuero High School.
The Fischer family, which owns Yoakum Discount Pharmacy and Kraege Drug Store, is related by marriage to Christine Blain, interim president of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce.
Scott Fischer, who lives in Edmond, Okla., said the connection he maintains with Blain via Facebook led her to invite him back to the Crossroads.
“I love Victoria,” he said. “All of my childhood memories as far as holidays and growing up were down there.”
During his speech at the banquet, he’ll discuss strategies he’s learned for business success from his own experience.
In 2012 he bought Dippin’ Dots, which filed for Chapter 11 reorganization the year before.
Among the things he credits with saving the company is its flexibility.
In his first few years as the company’s CEO, he shifted the focus away from bulk sales and toward selling prepackaged units of Dippin’ Dots so the company could cater to the impulse market.
“We’re able to shift with the market,” Fischer said. “If you make a widget and that works for 10 years, it’s very easy to become static.”
Diversification also came into play when Fischer discovered the company has a patent on the cryogenic process it uses to freeze the pellets of cream into its signature ‘dots.’
The other big factor in bringing back the company, which Fischer said is more important, was its corporate culture, which he’s described in numerous interviews as fun and close-knit.
Fischer said the fun of the company has been apparent in instances like a 2017 marketing move in which Dippin’ Dots invited longtime social media foe and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer to an ice cream social.
But Fischer said he observed the close-knit aspect most clearly while filming an episode for CBS reality TV show “Undercover Boss.”
While filming the show, he said he woke up every morning at 3 a.m to have a professional makeup artist disguise his appearance before going to work in one of the company’s franchise locations at a theme park.
He said the experience helped him observe customer and employee attitudes toward the brand as well as identify places where the corporate structure could improve.
“We’ve grown very, very fast over the past few years,” Fischer said. “I knew there would be some leaks in our boats from growing so fast. This gave me the chance to go out on the production floor and identify some of those leaks.”
Fischer’s episode will air Wednesday night.
His cousin will be among those who tune in.
Jalufka, who doesn’t eat Dippin’ Dots except for on an occasional stop at The Texan Stores where they’re sold, said she’s excited for the Dippin’ Dots plane to fly her cousin into the Victoria Regional Airport later this week.
“My uncle, he’s very shy, very quiet. (Scott Fischer) is outgoing,” she said. “He’s flashy, he’s showy – but not in a conceited way.”