Reeds Dairy owner grateful for community support following fire that destroyed production building - East Idaho News
'Heartwarming and humbling'

Reeds Dairy owner grateful for community support following fire that destroyed production building

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IDAHO FALLS – Alan Reed holds back tears as he processes everything that’s happened in the last five days.

On Thursday, a building that’s been in his family for four generations caught fire and is now a complete loss. It’s the building at Reeds Dairy where the cheese, ice cream and other products were processed. Fire officials are still trying to determine the cause and the amount in damages.

RELATED | Reed’s Dairy production building a total loss following fire

The initial shock of the blaze was a tragic realization for him, but the hardest part was sorting through his emotions the following day.

“I cried a lot more Friday than I did Thursday,” Reed tells

reeds dairy pic
Rett Nelson |

Rebuilding is at the top of his mind as he and his team move forward. He’s still trying to figure out those details. In the meantime, Reed still has a business to run.

RELATED | Gallery: A look at the damage caused by fire at Reed’s Dairy production facility

All the stores remain open and several businesses have stepped in to help. A dairy in Washington will help bottle the milk for the immediate future. The Reeds Dairy labels were burned in the fire, so customers may see labels from the Washington dairy temporarily until new labels are available.

Reeds Dairy storefront at 2660 West Broadway in Idaho Falls | Rett Nelson,

A company in Salt Lake will make the ice cream mix and Gossner Foods in Logan will make the cheese. The Reed’s Dairy crew will utilize the batch freezers at Kari Anne’s Frozen Desserts in Rexburg to make ice cream.

“We are proud to support Reeds Dairy during this challenging time and are committed to ensuring its legacy continues,” Karie Anne’s President Jessica Mortensen writes in an email to “We have been grateful for a 10-plus-year business relationship with them while establishing our own brand. Together, we are stronger.”

So many people have offered to help Reed and his family in the last few days and Reed is moved beyond words for the community’s support.

“It’s been very heartwarming and humbling,” he says, choking up. “We live in a great place. Everybody’s been so kind. We’ve had people bringing us lunch, doughnuts, goodies, flowers. I don’t know what words to use to say how wonderful people are here.”

RELATED | A look inside the Reed’s Dairy facility that caught fire

Reed’s father, Roy, grew up in the house on Broadway Street next to the store that’s now an office building for the business. His father, Charlie, inherited the dairy from Roy’s grandfather, David. Roy recalls raising pigs on the property as a boy before his brother, Larry, sold them and bought dairy cows.

reeds dairy classic pic
Old photo of Reeds Dairy provided by Alan Reed

Roy and his brothers formed Reed Brothers Farms in 1955. The building that burned last week was the original barn where the cows were milked and that’s where neighbors started bringing their empty cans and bottles to buy milk.

“We’d fill them up. We had an old coffee can where people would put their money,” says Roy. “That’s how it started. It grew from there.”

In the 1980s, the dairy and the farm split into separate operations. Around this time, Alan came up with the idea of making ice cream. He developed a formula and invested in the equipment. It quickly became a hit.

Bonneville County Commissioner Bryon Reed, Alan’s brother who is not involved in the family business, is proud of Alan for what he’s accomplished. He has childhood memories of working in the building that was destroyed and he’s impacted by its loss as well.

Though it’s hard for him to watch his brother go through this, he’s encouraged by the outpouring of support from the community and the dairy industry.

Despite some temporary setbacks, Alan says business will continue because of the community’s help. The dairy’s Ice Cream for Breakfast event will take place on Feb. 3 as planned and he invites the community to attend.

He hopes to be up and running again in his own facility very soon.

“It’ll probably take us a year and a half to get a new building built,” he says. “Our customers like (our products) and we’re grateful for them.”