Carval left Rochester long ago. What happened to the ice cream parlors?

Carvel is an ice cream franchise chain that still has stores across the country but has long since left the Rochester area.

The company is best known here for pebble owner/advertising man Tom Carvel and products like Fudgie the Whale, Flying Saucers and Cookie Puss. Carvel once had more than 700 stores across the country but now has about half that total, with the closest local stores in the Buffalo and Syracuse areas.

Walter Silverman of Brighton owned one of Carvel’s most successful local franchises, on East Ridge Road and Hudson Avenue in Irondequoit. He started working for Carvel in 1952.

“They used to call me Mr. Carvel,” Silverman said of his clients. “When they added hard ice cream, I made the boom. I made all the flavors myself. Work tripled.” Silverman said his franchise was on top of sales in the country and said he added ingredients — such as fudge between the layers of ice cream cakes — that other stores later adopted.

The real Mr. Carvel was Tom Carvel, a Greek immigrant who started working in 1934 in Westchester County. As the story goes, Carvel borrowed $15 from his future wife and started selling ice cream from a truck. When the truck’s tire snapped one day, Carvel walked into a parking lot and sold ice cream there.

In this undated photo, Walt Silverman, who owns Carvel Ice Cream Shop on East Ridge Road and Hudson Street in Irondequoit, is standing at the store.

He did such a good job that he “realized he could make a lot of money working from a fixed location” and eventually bought the property and turned it into a roadside stand, according to the company’s literature.

In 1947, Carvel began franchising the company and opened 25 ice cream stores in the early 1950s. Silverman said the first of those shots hit the Rochester market in 1950.

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