Tyler’s Ice Cream turns 35 years old this year.
It is one of those rare, multi-generational businesses that parents and grandparents can take their children or grandchildren to and say, “This is what an ice cream store was like when I was young.”
Since 1984, Tyler’s Ice Cream has been a tradition at 11904 Cortez Road W. For the last decade, the Alderson family has owned and operated Tyler’s and has stayed true to the homemade ice cream tradition of founders Larry and Geri Tyler.
“We still make all the ice cream on site — in small, five-gallon batches,” said Rob Alderson, who was making tubs of French vanilla, lemon and peanut butter fudge while he chatted with a reporter.
Rob’s wife, Laura, and his parents, Dan and Sandy Alderson, also stay involved with the business.
Dan was in the employee staffing business in Minneapolis and was looking to make a change when a friend showed him an advertisement in the Bradenton Herald listing Tyler’s as being for sale.
Dan and Sandy already had a home in the Bradenton area and were familiar with Tyler’s. The idea of owning and operating an ice cream store in a warm climate away from Minnesota winters immediately appealed to them.
Dan speaks fondly of the Tylers and the help they offered to get his family off to a good start with the business.
The Aldersons bought Tyler’s in 2008. Even though there were two other owners between the Tylers and the Aldersons, the Tylers stepped up to help the Aldersons learn the art of ice cream making.
“The Tylers are phenomenal people. They were so gracious when we bought the store,” Dan Alderson said.
The admiration for the founders of the business carries over to Tyler’s website.
“Their vision was to provide the best tasting and freshest ice cream available, anywhere. That vision is still the keystone to Tyler’s operation today. Larry is still a respected advisor and welcomed guest to Tyler’s,” the website says.
Geri Tyler, who developed many of the flavors at the store, has since passed away.
Tyler’s also has a location on Longboat Key at 5350 Gulf of Mexico Dr.
The Aldersons recently closed their store on Manatee Avenue, saying that while it was perhaps not the best location, they came away with a lesson learned in the importance of store size and location.
They are keeping their options open on opening another store in the future.
The basic tenants of the business have not changed in all these years.
“We make the ice cream from scratch, even though it might be easier to place an order with some big manufacturing plant,” Rob Alderson said.
“Customer service, cleanliness and quality are paramount,” he said. “When you walk through the door it’s going to be clean, comfortable and friendly, and the best ice cream in the Tampa Bay area.”
With a high fat content milk, the ice cream has more flavor, and is richer and creamier, he said.
Tom Ehren made a special trip to Tyler’s this week to buy a cup of nutty caramel.
“We never pass up Tyler’s,” he said.
Tyler’s offers 46 flavors, including four varieties of sorbet and four sugar-free flavors.
The best seller is French vanilla, followed by chocolate.
Tyler’s sells its ice cream to a number of local restaurants, including The Chiles Group (Sand Bar, Beach House and Mar Vista), The Waterfront Restaurant, enRich Bistro, Bridge Tender Inn, Blue Marlin Grill, The Feast Restaurant and more.
Recent customers include Bradenton Country Club and IMG Academy.
Tyler’s is open from 1-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon-9 p.m. Sunday.
For more information, visit tylersicecream.com or call 941-383-6935.