FLORENCE – For 100 years, generations of families have been creating memories inside Trowbridge’s Ice Cream Parlor and Sandwich Shop. Founded as Trowbridge Creamery, the beloved downtown Florence eatery is famous for its orange pineapple ice cream and chicken salad sandwiches.
At 80 years old, Don Trowbridge is the third generation to run the family business. As he tells it, it was 1917 when his grandfather Paul Trowbridge traveled from his Texas home to a dairy convention in North Carolina. He stopped for the night in a little town called Florence, Alabama.
“I don’t know if it was a premonition, or what,” Don Trowbridge said, “But by the time that convention was over and he made it back to Texas, he’d decided he was going to move to Florence with my grandmother and dad.”
The next year, his family built Trowbridge’s on North Court Street in downtown Florence, where it remains today. Trowbridge’s is the oldest business still operating in its original location in Florence. While locals keep the tables full daily, tourists frequently make a point to visit the restaurant. Over the years, it’s also been patronized by many famous musicians, thanks to its proximity to Muscle Shoals. Even Franklin Delano Roosevelt was photographed having a bite to eat at Trowbridge’s.
“My son asks me all the time, ‘Dad, you’re 80 years old. When are you going to hang it up?’ And I tell him, ‘When I get old enough or quit having fun, whichever comes first.’ So, when I’m ready, he is ready to step in and take it over.”
The Alabama Retail Association today honored Trowbridge’s Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop, an Alabama Retail Association member since 1994, as an Alabama Centennial Retailer. Carr, Riggs & Ingram CPAs and Advisors, Slappey Communications and the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business were the luncheon sponsors. The business received a bronze plaque to place outside its restaurant and a certificate suitable for display inside.
“We are thrilled for Trowbridge’s,” said Caitlin Holland, president of the Shoals Chamber, who accepted the award on behalf of owner Don Trowbridge. “Trowbridge’s long-term success and milestone anniversary is special for our entire community.”
“For a business to survive the dramatic changes of the past century is a remarkable achievement,” said Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown. “It is fitting to celebrate the enduring first-century contributions Trowbridge’s Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop have made to Florence and the surrounding communities.”
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,200 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.
Don Trowbridge, Trowbridge’s Ice Cream & Sandwich Shop | 256.764.1503
Melissa Warnke, Alabama Retail Association | 256.338.0621 | 800.239.5423
Nancy Dennis, Alabama Retail Association | 334.551.0643 | 800.239.5423