Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Stores have long been a regular staple in many Shawnee homes. Cheaper prices can often be a benefit to buying from a local company; such is the case for a recent sale on Oklahoma milk — though only at certain store sites.

Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Stores have long been a regular staple in many Shawnee homes. Cheaper prices can often be a benefit to buying from a local company; such is the case for a recent sale on Oklahoma milk — though only at certain store sites.

Recently area residents were concerned about possible price-gouging after noticing a significant difference in the prices of milk within Shawnee's three Braum's stores. As it turns out, it's quite the opposite — residents are getting a deal.

On June 18, milk at two of the Shawnee sites — both on Kickapoo — boasted a $2.49 price tag, while the Harrison location's milk was marked for sale at $3.49.

Braum's Public Relations Director Amanda Beuchaw confirmed the drastic price difference is not due to shady dealings, but is merely a matter of overstock.

“They have an overabundance at milk out at the plant and dairy, so they chose stores at random to discount the price and move milk for the time being,” she said.

The two Kickapoo stores were among those chosen to discount some of the overstock to move it more quickly, while the Harrison site has remained at the regular price.

“The price can vary from store-to-store based on supply and demand,” she said, “but the price (at the Harrison site) is more consistent with what customers can expect at most stores.”

The price truly varies from week to week, she said. “Some areas will be on sale and others will not be, based on how they sold the previous week,” Beuchaw said. “There are stores in each state that are on sale currently though.”

She said there are probably a little more than 100 stores with the milk sale prices right now.

According to the Braum's website, at braums.com, its milk price fluctuation appears to occur often enough that it's on the company's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list.

“Milk prices are determined by a number of factors: the marketing area each store is in, the supply and demand of customers, available space for product storage, and the local price of other brands,” the website reads. “We believe we have a superior product, and it’s our desire to set a fair, competitive price that will allow stores to increase sales and sell at its potential.”

The site states this marketing strategy sometimes results in offering milk at a lower price in one store while another may remain fixed or even increase slightly.

According to the website, the Braum family has been making ice cream and dairy products since 1933.

Braum's timeline

• In 1933, Henry H. Braum leased a converted house and used it as a small butter processing plant in their hometown of Emporia, Kansas.

• A year later, the owner built a new 25×80-foot building so Henry moved production to that facility. Later, milk processing was added. Throughout childhood, his son, Bill, helped him with the family business, learning every aspect of the operation.

• In 1940, Henry expanded the business to include ice cream processing.

• In 1952, Bill and Henry sold the wholesale part of the business. They purchased an old Kraft Cheese Factory that they remodeled into an ice cream and processing plant and began specializing in milk and ice cream. They developed a chain of retail ice cream stores in Kansas called “Peter Pan Ice Cream” named after a local park in Emporia.

• In 1961, Bill purchased the company from Henry and bought his first dairy farm in Emporia.

• In 1967, Bill grew the chain to 61 stores and increased the business tenfold. He then sold the Peter Pan retail stores to a large wholesaler. The sale did not include the Braum dairy herd and processing plant. As a condition of the sale, the Braums were not allowed to sell ice cream in Kansas for 10 years.

• In 1968, Bill and his wife, Mary, opened the first Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Store in Oklahoma City. That year, twenty-three more stores opened throughout Oklahoma. For three years, because the Braum dairy herd and processing plant were still in Emporia, Kansas, all ice cream, dairy products and other supplies were transported daily from Kansas to Oklahoma.

• In 1971, a new 60,000 square-foot processing plant was built in Oklahoma City.

• By 1975, the Braum’s dairy herd, the largest dairy herd in Kansas moved to Oklahoma. The modern-day cattle drive consisted of more than 900 cows traveling down the highway in a convoy of semi-trucks to their new home at the Braum Farm in Tuttle.

• In 1978, the original Braum’s bakery was built next to the processing plant in Oklahoma City. Bill and Mary purchased several farms in southeastern Oklahoma including Stonewall, Asher, Wanette and Byars.

• In 1987, Braum’s construction crews built a 260,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art processing plant on the Braum Farm in Tuttle. The original processing plant in Oklahoma City became the site for Braum’s Corporate Offices.

• In 1988, Bill purchased the farm that lies on the border of Follett, Texas, and Shattuck. This farm is primarily used for growing alfalfa hay to feed the dairy herd. Over the years, this farm has grown to 24,000 acres, about 38 square miles.

• In 1993, Braum’s construction crews built what is touted as one of the largest milking operations of its kind in the world. Built on the Tuttle Farm, it consists of a milk barn and 17 free-stall barns (covering 35 acres) that house the Braum’s private dairy herd.

• In 2002, Braum’s construction crews built a milking complex on the Follett Farm. Although smaller than the milking operation in Tuttle, the private dairy herd at Follett provides thousands of gallons of fresh, raw milk each day. This milk is then transported to the Braum’s processing plant in Tuttle.

• In 2008, there were 3,000 calf hutches and pens installed to house the replacement heifers on the Tuttle Farm.

• In 2010, Braum’s built a new 240,000 square-foot bakery and warehouse distribution facility adjacent to the processing plant on the Tuttle Farm. Also that year, Bill designed and built a cow trolley to transport the dairy herd to and from the milk barn. This eliminated the long walk several times each day and improved the cows’ overall comfort.

• Today, the Braum family owns and operates nearly 300 stores located throughout Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas. All Braum’s stores are located within a 300-mile radius of the Braum’s Processing Plant in Tuttle.

Timeline Information from braums.com.