Miller’s Ice Cream, Candy & 5 – 10 – 1.00 Stores

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Miller’s is an establishment that has eluded me for the entirety of my six-year “career” chronicling beloved places of the past in Berks County. I came to know of the name through my Mother telling me of her own memories at the Miller’s Drive-In which was located in Sinking Spring at 4700 Penn Avenue. Today Hollywood Cleaners stands in its place, but boasts the same retro sign structure.

Sinking Spring Location in the 1970s – Photo Courtesy of Steven Rapak
Miller's Ice Cream
Same sign in 2017

What I initially assumed was a stand-alone local ice cream joint, similar to the likes of Sno-Kist, was actually only one branch of a much larger business which produced candy and ice cream regionally for twenty-five years. At the time of publishing this article there was no information readily available online about this business. It is surprising to me that the history of what was once a staple for generations of children growing up here had been completely obscured by time. I have done my usual digging through deeds, newspaper archives and obituaries to bring you the story.

Miller's Ice Cream & Candy
April 22nd, 1939 Reading Times

Arthur C. Miller

Arthur C. Miller is the man behind the name. He was born in 1899 in Hamburg and lived there for the vast majority of his life. Ice cream manufacturing was not a random business venture. Arthur’s father John Henry Miller was a prominent inventor and business man in Hamburg. At the time of his death he was vice president of the Home Maid Ice Cream Stores Company, owned by Miller & Sopories, Inc. The company had offices in Pottsville and operated stores throughout the Schuylkill Valley. After John died in 1935 Arthur took his business skills south; presumably with an inheritance and experience gained while working with his father.

In 1938 he purchased a two story factory building at 320 McKnight Street in south Reading. Miller’s ice cream plant was opened to the public on April 22nd, 1939. Expansion happened very quickly, as retail stores opened around the city and county almost immediately as the ad above foreshadows. Only a year after establishing their Reading plant, they opened a store in Pottstown on April 13th, 1940 at 503 E. High Street.

In 1950 Miller’s split their candy production to another location at 934 Rose Street in north Reading. Some of the various Miller’s retail shops in Berks County over the decades in operation included Reading locations at 725 Penn Street, 312 N. 9th Street, Moss & Exeter Streets, 5th & Bingaman Street, and 13th & Muhlenberg Street. Other county locations included Hamburg (43 S. 4th Street), Boyertown (102 E. Philadelphia Ave), Wyomissing (1311 Penn Avenue), and Sinking Spring (4700 Penn Avenue).

Miller's Ice Cream & Candy

Arthur’s obituary stated that at the company’s peak it operated 60 stores across the Berks, Schuykill and Montgomery County regions. Some of these were 5c-10c-1.00 stores, some were just ice cream parlors and eateries, all bore the iconic Miller’s namesake. The stores sold toys and costumes in addition to candy and ice cream. As one can imagine, it was paradise for children of all ages.

Miller's Ice Cream & Candy
Miller's Ice Cream & Candy

After Arthur’s death in 1964 the Reading ice cream and candy plants and Wyomissing retail locations were closed and sold. At the time of his death he was still proprietor of Hamburg’s Miller’s 5-10c-$1.00 store. Any other stand alone-Miller’s locations were more like franchises by this point – privately owned establishments only bearing the name. It seems like most of these locations were closed by the 1990s. Arthur’s home store of Hamburg was the longest lasting; only closing its doors in 2016. Feel free to drop any additional knowledge or memories of Miller’s in the comments.

Hamburg Miller’s from Google Street View in 2015 shortly before closing
Reading Eagle ad from 1959

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Pat Huntley
Pat Huntley
6 years ago

Yes. When my husband & I were dating, we asked for one cone because we didn’t have enough for two but the owner gave us two! Also, had fun at the miniature golf course!

Donna Hess
Donna Hess
6 years ago

Great memories!

Kris
Kris
6 years ago

I remember when I was little before it closed.
But in the 80’s my dad and mom used to take my brothers and I to get ice cream.
I used to be bratty and dad would spank me for what ever u did and then I would cry; he would take me to Miller’s to get ice cream cone.

The owners knew my mom and dad because of my grand parents. They would give it to us for free.
I miss this place, I was sad when they closed up and the dry cleaners took the ice cream Shoppe.
I remember it closing up in the mid 90’s.

I told my kids about the ice cream shop that was there ;they look at me and asked why it closed up. I didn’t know why.

I grew up with ice cream at Miller’s and I’m 39 now. My parents are in their mid to late 50’s.
Things are changing nothing stays the same. But I always thought Miller’s ice cream Shoppe would of stayed.
I was born in 1978. I’m 39 now; the ice cream shop closed up in the 90’s before the dry cleaners bought the old ice cream shop. My memory is pretty good about the past.
I hope that helps/gl on finding more information.

John M Lawlor, Jr.
John M Lawlor, Jr.
1 year ago

Miller’s Ice Cream factory in the 900 block of Rose Street had a store as part of it. I walked up from 800 4th almost every Sunday in the summer in the early 1960s at passed to factory on the way to school at 3rd and Spring. There was a small alley next to the factory that connected to Spring St. The factory served several Miller’s Ice Cream locations.

Last edited 1 year ago by John M Lawlor, Jr.
LARRY W SOLTYS alias; (Shotgun-Louie)
LARRY W SOLTYS alias; (Shotgun-Louie)
10 months ago

When I was a youth growing up in East Reading in the 1950’s there was no other place that could provide the best Ice Cream around. After a game of basketball, box hockey, or volley ball at the 12th & Chestnut Playground, Miller’s ice cream was a real treat. Located at the corner of 13th & Muhlenberg it was a hop skip and jump to get there. The big favorite for most of us kids was the black cherry ice cream loaded with big black cherries. Great Memories from a long time ago.

Paul Hoffman
Paul Hoffman
10 months ago

I played little league baseball for Sinking Spring. My first season, coach would take us all to the Sinking Spring location after every win and treat us to ice cream. It worked; we only lost one regular season game. That would’ve been 1979 or 1980. I remember well the sign in the picture in the article. It must’ve been much cheaper then. I can’t imagine today treating an entire team to ice cream twice a week!

Paul Miller
Paul Miller
10 months ago

We went to the Wyomissing store in the early 60’s. They sold ice cream, candy,toys,wrapping paper and seasonal holiday items. Kids could get their picture taken with Santa or the Easter Bunny especially in the 50’s. I have an ice cream gallon canister marked Reading, Wyomissing and Hamburg. The Sinking Spring Penn Avenue store was originally Daniel’s Ice Cream stand in the 1960’s before it became Miller’s.

Elaine Haldeman
Elaine Haldeman
10 months ago

Fondly remember the family ice cream chant of the ‘50- 60’s “….we all scream for ice cream” each time we passed the Wyomissing shop. Toward the end of summer, the borough hosted a beautiful Lantern Parade around the Stone House pond. Miller’s donated the empty cylindrical, brown cardboard containers from their freezer and the kid-crafters at Happy Hollow playground cut designs in the sides, glued colored tissue paper over the cut-out and come dark on parade night, a real candle was inserted. Proud little artists walked the perimeter of the pond marveling at all of the spectacular reflections.

John Rhoads
John Rhoads
2 months ago

I remember the Miller’s Ice Cream in Wyomissing on Penn Ave. It was always a stop for us when heading home to West Reading. As we approached my sisters, brothers and I would chant “Stop, Stop, Stop as Millers until my father would stop and buy us an ice cream cone.

When my father passed away in 2011 he was buried in Wernersville and my sister and I rode in the limousine back to the funeral home in West Reading. When we approached the location where Miller’s used to be we both broke out in the chant, “Stop. stop, stop at Miller’s”. The driver of the limousine knew exactly what we were talking about.


Berks Nostalgia