Alan Reed

The work of a family at Reed’s Dairy

Published online: Jun 01, 2020 Articles Emily FitzPatrick
Viewed 660 time(s)

It all started when the Reed’s family moved from Iowa to Idaho Falls. Now, Reed’s Dairy is one of the most popular sweet spots in town. The dairy in Idaho Falls is a hotspot not only for locals, but also visitors who stop to see the farm animals, grab some chocolate milk and eat some ice cream. IFM staff sat down with Alan Reed to learn more about how this family business has become a trusted local service to the Idaho Falls community.


IFM: Reed’s Dairy started out small. How have you expanded over the years?

AR: My dad and his two brothers started the dairy with milking cows. In the ’80s, we started making ice cream, and then cheese. We've had the one store here at our dairy and then about 6 years ago, we opened the store over in Ammon. And then we opened a store in Meridian. A year and a half ago, we opened another store in Boise.


IFM: What was it like growing up with your family owning a dairy operation?

AR: As a kid, the family had the dairy operation and we also had a farming operation. I was raised more on the farming side. When I finished college, I had accounting experience and they asked me to run the books for the company. I enjoyed the accounting side of it, the customer relations, marketing and the food science part of it. And so, I stayed on the dairy side and I've been there ever since.


IFM: What kinds of adjustments are you having to make because of COVID-19?

AR: The challenge that we have is, we've had to discontinue seating in our stores and that has really put a damper on our store sales as well as ice cream sales. The milk home delivery, though, has been popular because people haven't wanted to go out. So they enjoy having their groceries delivered to them. That's been a positive aspect of all of this. The main thing is, we just work hard to keep our employees healthy and safe.


IFM: What kind of adjustments have you made to deal with crises in the past?

AR: The ice cream has been a significant part of keeping our business alive. That and moving over to Boise. The market is so much larger over there.


IFM: What has your business done to stay family-friendly?

AR: Here at the dairy we put that petting farm in and we have people come out just to see the farm animals. That's been really popular here at our dairy because it makes it a nice destination place for people to come. We also have a lot of grass areas and picnic tables and so we have a lot of people, both local as well as tourists and see the animals and they'll spend a half a day there.


IFM: What are some of your favorite things about being local?

AR: We have a lot of activities all year that people can just come to, we don't charge anything for them. We just want to be a fun part of the community that provides someplace for people to come. 

The other day someone had a question about the milk, what we feed the cow and how we take care of them. He said, “Who can I talk to that really knows?” And I was able to say, “I'm the owner. I answered the phone. So this is about as good as you get.” That's the benefit of dealing with the local business here. It's just one phone call to get to the top. So overall, it's just being part of the community and helping each other out.


Click here to continue reading the June issue of Idaho Falls Magazine.


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