Marketing and Public Relations

Latest News: Johnson’s Real Ice Cream Acquires Bobtail Ice Cream Company in Chicago

Johnson’s Real Ice Cream Acquires Chicago-based Bobtail Ice Cream Company

New location marks first venture outside of Central Ohio with brand inspired by the Johnson’s family legacy.

Columbus, OH, December 5, 2018—Johnson’s Real Ice Cream, central Ohio-based and led by fourth-generation family-owners Matt Wilcoxon and Jeff Wilcoxon, announced today that it has executed an agreement to purchase Chicago-based Bobtail Ice Cream Company effective with the new year. This announcement marks the first retail venture of the Johnson’s brand outside of the Columbus market, however; Bobtail has been an extended part of the Johnson’s family since its beginnings.

“My brother Jeff launched Bobtail with the Johnson family ice cream recipes in 2004 with his friend and fellow MBA classmate Chris Hill and mentor/Chicago based investor John Rutledge of Oxford Capital Group, after finding success in the New Venture Challenge at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, where Mr. Rutledge has been a long time judge. They wanted to bring nostalgic experience and time-tested, classic ice cream to Chicago, and we will continue to do the same,” stated Matt Wilcoxon, chief executive officer of Johnson’s.

Brothers Matt and Jeff Wilcoxon of Johnson’s Real Ice Cream.

Bobtail’s current customers can expect to enjoy the same great tasting ice cream with enhanced offerings and flavors like Mighty Mint and Chip, Coffee and the Cool Beans, and Salty Caramel Choco Pretzel Trap.

“We could not be happier to have Johnson’s step into our place in the Chicago market. It has been an incredible partnership with Jeff and John, and it is great knowing that the consistently profitable and successful business that we started out of business school is now part of a growing family brand,” said Chris Hill, co-chief executive officer and founder of Bobtail Ice Cream Company.

In the spring, customers will see a noticeable change with a refreshed design to the shop at 2951 North Broadway in the Lakeview East Community as it becomes a Johnson’s Real Ice Cream. It will undergo a transformation and temporary closure beginning January 1, 2019.

During the short transition period, Johnson’s will offer the same catering and wholesale products and services that Bobtail has for 15 years.

About Johnson’s Real Ice Cream

Family-owned and operated since 1950 the Johnson’s Real Ice Cream brand has become an established and iconic brand in central Ohio. With three locations in Bexley, Dublin, and New Albany the brand is expanding into the Chicago market.

The Johnson’s Real Ice Cream brand can also be found in several specialty markets throughout Ohio as well as central Ohio Giant Eagle locations.

For more information about Johnson’s Real Ice Cream’s humble beginnings visit them on the web at or follow them on Facebook and Instagram @johnsonsrealicecream or on Twitter @JRIC1950.

About Bobtail Ice Cream Company

Founded in 2004 by University of Chicago graduates Jeff Wilcoxon, Chris Hill, and John Rutledge, Bobtail has become an iconic Chicago institution located at 2951 North Broadway in the Lakeview East community and in several Chicago-area hotels, restaurants, and markets.

For more information about Bobtail Ice Cream Company, visit them online at

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