America’s Oldest Ice Cream Company Uses Ex-Im Bank

Bassetts Ice Cream – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Bassetts Ice Cream is America’s oldest ice cream company. Established in 1861 and based in Philadelphia, this fifth-generation family-run business specializes in deliciousness: Butterscotch Vanilla, Irish Coffee, and Rum Raisin are just three of their many flavors. Yet, until 2008, the firm never considered exporting. Six years later, with the help of the Export Import Bank, Bassetts now lines the shelves of Chinese supermarkets and is a regular feature of hotel and buffet chains.

Michael Strange, President of Bassetts Ice Cream, details exactly how Ex-Im helps his company: “The export credit insurance we purchase from Ex-Im Bank lets us extend credit to overseas customers with the assurance that we will be paid. This credit insurance in turn gives our domestic bank the confidence it needs to provide us with a line of credit.”

Thanks to this financing, Bassetts entered the international arena and sales surged. Six years later, exports make up 20% of its total revenue. Furthermore, Bassetts Ice Cream now employs 30 people in Philadelphia, a number that is sure to grow in the future as the company enters new overseas markets — as long as Ex-Im can help.

While some critics say small exporters can simply rely on private banks, Strange disagrees. “Without Ex-Im credit insurance, our domestic bank wouldn’t allow us to use foreign receivables as collateral for our working capital line of credit.” In other words, Bassetts would lack the financial firepower to export.

Strange has a message for Congress, and it’s simple: “Our existing customers as well as prospective customers in foreign markets expect standard trade terms. If Ex-Im’s charter is allowed to expire, our small company would be unable to extend credit to our overseas customers, and we’d have to reduce exports. It would also hamper our ability to enter new markets.” For Bassetts Ice Cream’s continued growth and continued American prosperity, Congress must reauthorize the Export Import Bank of the United States.