Blue Bell Ice Cream arrives in Las Vegas in March
BRENHAM - Beginning on Monday, March 3, residents of Las Vegas will get their first taste of “the best ice cream in the country,” Blue Bell Ice Cream from the little town of Brenham, Texas. Blue Bell is the number-three selling branded ice cream in the U.S.—despite the fact that it is only sold in parts of 23 states—because the ice cream is so popular in the markets where it is available.
Blue Bell will be opening a 12,000 square-foot distribution facility, at 6957 Speedway Boulevard, which will include office space, warehousing, and loading docks. The distribution facility will have 14 employees under the supervision of Sales Manager David Horner, who has been with Blue Bell since 1998. The new distribution facility will serve the entire Las Vegas area and surrounding suburbs, adding an additional two million customers to the geographical area served by Blue Bell.
Blue Bell tends to grow slowly and carefully because the company maintains a unique delivery system, direct store distribution, that serves to keep the ice cream protected from the elements and extremely fresh when it reaches the individual store. Blue Bell Ice Cream, Light Ice Cream, Sherbet, Frozen Yogurt, No Sugar Added Blue Bell, Blue Bell Frozen Snacks and all other products in a 250-product lineup are delivered directly to stores in Blue Bell trucks. No one other than a Blue Bell employee handles Blue Bell Ice Cream until the customer buys it.
New cities and towns that will be served from the new Las Vegas distribution facility will include the entire Las Vegas metro area, in addition to Mesquite and Pahrump, Nevada. Blue Bell will be sold at Albertsons, Food 4 Less, Glaziers Food Marketplace, Smith’s, Walgreens, Walmart and at many independent supermarkets, drugstores and convenience stores. Blue Bell Ice Cream is also featured at all Carrabba’s and Outback Steakhouse restaurants.
Harold Gilson, regional manager for Blue Bell, explains the timing of the market entry: “Blue Bell Ice Cream has had an enthusiastic reception across the Southeast, Southwest and Midwest. After many requests from consumers and grocery store managers, we are delighted to bring Blue Bell to the Las Vegas area.”
Blue Bell has inspired an enviable loyalty among its many devoted fans. Astronauts have carried Blue Bell Ice Cream into space on several occasions. Both Presidents Bush had Blue Bell shipped from Texas to the White House and Kennebunkport. President George W. Bush frequently served Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla to foreign dignitaries visiting his Crawford ranch.
According to ACNielsen SCANTRACK data for the 52-week period ending August 3, 2013, Blue Bell currently holds a 62% market share of ice cream sold in supermarkets in Houston, 60% in Dallas/Fort Worth, 60% in New Orleans/Mobile, 42% in Oklahoma City/Tulsa and 37% in Birmingham/Montgomery.
Known as “the Little Creamery in Brenham,” to ice cream lovers, Blue Bell was founded in 1907 in Brenham, Texas, a town of about 15,000 people located 70 miles northwest of Houston amidst the rolling hills of Central Texas. The Creamery was originally founded to make butter from the excess cream marketed by local farmers, but ice cream was added to the product line in 1911.
At that time, the Creamery produced two gallons of ice cream a day, hand-cranked in a wooden tub filled with ice.
In 1930, the name of the company was changed to "Blue Bell," after the favorite Texas wildflower of the company's manager. Butter was produced until 1958 when Blue Bell began to focus fulltime on making "the best ice cream in the country."
Blue Bell has produced many innovative products over the years, including the original "Cookies 'n Cream," but the most popular flavor of Blue Bell Ice Cream, year after year, is plain and simple Homemade Vanilla, created in 1969, which, fans say, tastes remarkably like the hand-cranked ice cream folks used to make on the porch during long summer evenings.