In 1891 several entrepreneurs from DeGraff formed the DeGraff Creamery. Luther Pool, Solomon Loffer, John Brown, Isaac Miller, W.E. Harris and Daniel Shroyer sat as the first board of directors of the new company. The following year the directors brought A.L. Brunson to DeGraff with a wagonload of four thousand pounds of milk to get the creamery started. The directors also began selling stocks, mostly to farmers, to bring capital into the company. However, it took nearly two decades for the DeGraff Creamery to prosper.
The growth of the automobile and truck in the 1910s enabled the creamery to transport its goods to larger markets like Cleveland, Columbus and Indianapolis. The creamery continued to grow and change over the next decades. In 1918, the company was leased to the John Wilde Evaporated Milk Co. (later consolidated with Nestlé’s Milk), while the creamery’s senior partner, J.L. Brunson, was fighting in World War I. The company briefly moved its operation to Bellefontaine before returning to DeGraff.
Brunson once again took over the creamery when he returned from Europe and continued to expand the company’s operations. In 1921 the creamery began making butter and two years later, after William Forsythe purchased ½ percent of the company, it also produced ice. The creamery next started in the ice cream business. Unfortunately, the creamery burned down on September 18, 1927, but it reopened eight months later and resumed as a full functioning creamery and dairy. It further expanded by adding egg and poultry production and finally milk bottling in 1940.
Throughout the following years the DeGraff Creamery continued to be a vital part of the village’s economy. It also became part of DeGraff’s identity. People from all over western Ohio would come to village to enjoy the creamery’s delicious ice cream.