The first expansion of
the business took the company to Marion, Ohio, after acquiring the
Marion Pure Milk Company in 1914. Operated by Charles Isaly,
the Marion operation was quickly modernized, and business grew accordingly.
From Marion, the company expanded to Youngstown, Ohio, and by 1918
had a dairy and new headquarters on Mahoning Ave. The Youngstown
area was the largest Isaly's market, boasting at one time almost
130 stores. In 1929 they expanded to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (on
the Blvd. of the Allies). Expansion continued through the 1930s
and 1940s with additional dairies built from Columbus, Ohio (at
North High Street and Arcadia Avenue) west to Iowa and 310 stores.
Pittsburgh residents regarded Isaly's so highly that the company
was and still is mistakenly considered a Pittsburgh original.
In its advertising, the dairies used the mnemonic phrase "I
Shall Always Love You Sweetheart" to help with the spelling
of the Isaly's name. In Marion, Ohio, Isaly's fielded an amateur
basketball team that played against the Buffalo Silents –
a team composed of deaf/mute players and LaRue, Ohio–based
World–Famous Indians with Jim Thorpe.
the 1930s, Isaly’s
began a commercial building program that employed high style art
deco / Art Moderne designed production facilities and retail outlets,
most of which were designed by architect Vincent (Shooey) Schoeneman.
The Youngstown dairy facility represented the apex of this project,
with the streamlined building (with exterior by architect Charles
F. Owsley) dominated by a five-story glass block tower.
In addition to the Klondike Bar, the dairies were also known
for their unique Skyscraper Cones, created in Youngstown by plant
supervisor Sam Jennings which eschewed round ice cream scoops,
instead using a patented design that resulted in a long, inverse-cone-shaped
The company also had great success in selling chipped chopped
ham, sliced (shaved) razor-thin for sandwiches. The sandwich was
featured on the PBS special, 'Sandwiches That You Will Like'.
The company also marketed "immunized milk for infants, supplied
by special isolated herds of cattle."
Shifting consumer demands, declining sales for home-delivered
milk, as well as corporate consolidation led to the closing of
Isaly facilities beginning in the 1960s. According to Brian
Butko, author of Klondikes, Chipped Ham, & Skyscraper
Cones: The Story of Isaly's, it was the loose company structure
– in an era of growing corporate homogeneity – that
left Isaly's unable to compete on the wholesale and retail levels,
leading to the closure of its dairies beginning in the mid-1960s.
Several members of the Isaly family attempted to continue to
operate food-service operations. In Pittsburgh, Isaly outlets
were converted to the "Sweet William" brand. In Ohio,
restaurants operated under the "Isaly Shoppe" name until
the mid-1990s when the final outlet closed in Marion, Ohio.
Since 1984, the Isaly’s
name has enjoyed a comeback of sorts, but one not overseen by
members of the Isaly family. Delicatessen Distributing Incorporated
of Evans City, Pennsylvania purchased the Isaly trademark name
and markets the original quality luncheon meats, cheeses and sauces
under the Isaly name in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.
The concern also distributes Isaly brand ice cream (except Klondikes)
to stores in Western Pennsylvania. The Klondike Bar product line
is now owned by Unilever.
There are at least three Isaly’s
still in operation in southwestern Pennsylvania in the areas of
West View, Turtle Creek, and East Allegheny (city neighborhood
of Pittsburgh), all retaining most of the classic interior. In
June 2012, ownership of the West View Isaly's changed hands.