Our story begins in 1860. In Buschhausen, a suburb of Oberhausen, Wilhelm Schmalhaus set up his own patisserie, supplying cakes to cafes and other catering businesses. His creations soon became so popular that he hit upon the idea of selling them himself at public events.
Around 1900, Wilhelm’s son Hermann Schmalhaus, together with his wife Anna and their six sons, made the decision to sell their wares only at fairs and shows. From his mobile waffle bakery, Hermann could satisfy his customers’ every desire: from crispy waffles and silky Rhineland-style pastries to delicious doughnuts. Over the next few years, the family invested in their own ice cream maker, which in those days had to be kept cool in a vat full of large blocks of ice. Before long, the ice cream, served with the family’s homemade waffles, became a hit.
During the war, the Schmalhaus family business was almost completely destroyed. Hermann’s son Wilhelm Schmalhaus – now an adult – plucked up his courage and, despite all the obstacles, decided to make a new start. In view of the increasing success of the family’s ice cream in the pre-war years, Wilhelm decided to focus all of the firm’s efforts on the production of fresh ice cream. Initially, he purchased a simple ice cream kiosk before going on to invest in a larger mobile ice cream stall which he transported from event to event with his wife Pauline and their two daughters.
In the 1960s, one of these daughters, Erna Krenz (née Schmalhaus), took over and successfully developed her father’s ice cream business. Her son, Klaus Krenz, then went on to operate the ice cream stall with his wife Elli from the early 1980s onwards. It fell to their son Kristoffer Krenz to increase the size of the family business when, in 2005, he began operating the family’s second mobile ice cream stall, an important milestone in the continuing growth of the business.
To this day, the Schmalhaus family firm is still based in Oberhausen. And the family’s recipe for its ice cream is still being passed on to each new generation. In fact, only two people know the secret Schmalhaus recipe.
For some more insights into our past you can also see our historical photos.