Our Story


Michigan-Made with Southern Roots

HattieGirl is more than an ice cream company, it is a legacy of ingenuity, entrepreneurship,  and really delicious desserts. Founder and CEO James Render launched his company years ago as a means of raising funds for his award-winning boys choir. As his unique Southern-style ice cream flavors and desserts grew in popularity, it became apparent that HattieGirl Ice Cream and Foods was a business that was going places. Now in more than 30 stores and restaurants, HattieGirl is making headway in major retailers such as Meijer.


The simple answer to that question isHattie Foster-Thomas.

But there’s more to the story and it’s backed by a whole lot of history!

HattieGirl Ice Cream and Foods is named for Hattie Foster-Thomas, the mother of company founder James Render. The name HattieGirl was given to our Hattie by her Grandmother Lula, a former slave, from Rural Alabama. It was Lula who raised Hattie after the loss of Hattie’s mother.

At Lula’s side, Hattie learned to bake and churn fresh ice cream. Hattie’s Daddy, Albert, was always happy to taste test their efforts. Together Lula and Hattie would take their sweet treats out into the fields near their home in Midway, Alabama and sell them to the farm hands as they came in from the field. Lula would tell her granddaughter “HattieGirl, I think you be a hit with all these folks. Remember, quality counts.” Little Hattie loved the way her Grandma Lula said “HattieGirl” and so the name stuck.

Hattie passed down her passion for making high-quality, delicious desserts to her son, James, who carries on the family tradition under Hattie’s watchful eye.

So, HattieGirl is more than a name, more than a tribute to an amazing mother, it is also a commitment to quality, a nod to Southern roots, and a continuation of a really, sweet tradition!


HattieGirl is a Super Premium, All-Natural Ice Cream Brand Made in Detroit, Michigan.

The company was founded in 2006 by Detroit native, James Render, an award-winning teacher, Stellar Award-winning choir director, and former record company executive. James learned to make unforgettable frozen desserts as a child by working alongside his mother, Hattie Foster-Thomas, whose down-home roots informed the flavors James created. Flavors like Sweet Potato Pie and Sweet Potato Pie Ice Cream with Pecans are made with real ingredients, not artificial flavorings – Real Pecan, Real Pistachio, Pureed Strawberries, Actual Sweet Potatoes, Pure Vanilla Extract, and Freshly-Baked Pound Cake.
“Quality Counts.” That’s what Great Grandma Lula said and that’s what we believe!