Blue Bell Ice Cream arrives in Wilmington, N.C.
March 4, 2013
BRENHAM - Beginning on Monday, April 1 (no joke!), residents of Wilmington, North Carolina, 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 22 states—because the ice cream is so popular in the markets where it is available.
In response to the growing demand for Blue Bell products in North Carolina, Blue Bell Creameries will be opening a transfer station or distribution facility at 3334 U. S. Highway 421.
The transfer station will have eight to ten employees under the supervision of Territory/Operations Manager Matthew Bradford and will service the eastern part of North Carolina, adding an additional two million customers to the geographical area covered by Blue Bell. New towns that will be served from the Wilmington transfer station will include Wilmington, Jacksonville, New Bern, and Morehead City. The new transfer station will also take over serving the town of Ocean Isle Beach, South Carolina.
Blue Bell Ice Cream will be sold at Walmart, Kroger, Lowes Foods, and many independent supermarkets, drugstores and convenience stores. Blue Bell Ice Cream is also featured at all Carrabba’s and Outback Steakhouse restaurants.
“This new transfer station was necessary because of the rapidly increasing demand for Blue Bell in North Carolina,” explains Scott Evans, regional manager for Blue Bell in Atlanta. Blue Bell maintains a unique delivery system, which allows delivery of all products directly to stores in Blue Bell trucks so that literally no one other than a Blue Bell employee handles the ice cream until the customer buys it.
“We saw that we were really going to need a facility in southeastern North Carolina to handle the expansion of service to this area,” explains Raleigh Branch Manager Keith Britton. “This cuts down on driving time on the road, makes the whole distribution system operate more efficiently and gets our ice cream to consumers even faster. It really reinforces our commitment to quality and service.” According to Britton, among the most popular Blue Bell Ice Cream flavors in North Carolina have been Pistachio Almond, Banana Pudding and Moo-llennium Crunch.
Blue Bell has inspired an enviable loyalty among its many devoted fans. Astronauts have carried Blue Bell Ice Cream into space twice. 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 4, 2012, Blue Bell currently holds a 61% market share of ice cream sold in supermarkets in Houston, 60% in Dallas/Fort Worth, 62% in New Orleans/Mobile, 43% in Oklahoma City/Tulsa and 38% in Birmingham.
Known as “the Little Creamery in Brenham,” to ice cream lovers, Blue Bell was founded in 1907 in Brenham, Texas, a town of about 14,000 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.