Irv Robbins (December 6, 1917 – May 5, 2008) founded the Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlor chain in 1945 with his partner and brother-in-law Burt Baskin. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, his father, Aaron Ernie, owned a dairy and ice cream business in Tacoma. The ice cream store was called The Olympic Store and was located at 954 Court C in Tacoma.
He resided in Rancho Mirage, California, until his death on May 5, 2008, at Eisenhower Medical Center in the desert community of Rancho Mirage, according to his daughter, Marsha Veit of Mount Kisco, N.Y. He had been in ill health for some time, she said.
Irv Robbins’ Biography continues next page
Irv Robbins attended the University of Washington (Seattle, Washington). After serving in the U.S. Army, he was discharged August 1945, and was able to follow up on a dream of many years, and opened up his own ice cream store — one that sold nothing but ice cream, with an inventory of 31 flavors. It opened Dec. 7, 1945 in Glendale California. Burton Baskin owned a men’s store in the Palmer House, Chicago, IL, and married Irv’s sister in 1942. He had enlisted in the Navy and was released from service early 1946 and came to California, where Irv convinced him that selling ice cream was more fun than selling men’s ties & shirts, and within a couple of months he opened a store in Pasadena at 561 So. Lake.
Once they were growing rapidly with the franchising concept, they joined forces, and became Baskin Robbins 31 Ice Cream Co. 25 years later it had become the world’s largest chain of ice cream stores, eventually having over 5500 outlets around the world.
Irv and his wife Irma (the former Irma Gevurtz) had three children: Marsha, John and Erin. (John Robbins is a renowned author of diet books and a Veganism advocate.) Burton and his wife Shirley had two children, Edie & Richard. Burton Baskin died in December 1967. Irvine Robbins retired in 1978, having sold the business to United Fruit Co.