Blue Bell Ice Cream returned to grocery shelves in Mount Pleasant and Titus County Monday, Dec. 14.
Mount Pleasant ISD athletic trainer Justin Hargrove may have been one of the first in town to buy a half-gallon carton.
“About 6: 30 [a.m. Monday] I was in Walmart buying some things. They were in the process of stocking the shelves,” Hargrove said.
He saw the Blue Bell going into the store freezer shelves and decided he definitely just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
“I just happened to be in there. I saw the ice cream. I thought, well I’ve got a freezer at work, so I got one of the half-gallon Dutch Chocolate containers,” he said.
After his school lunch duty Monday, Hargrove took an ice cream break, after all these months.
In the parking lot of Brookshire’s Monday afternoon, Lori Hindman, who lives in Leesburg but works in Mount Pleasant had snagged a carton of the Blue Bell Great Divide.
She noted it was great to have the ice cream back and pay the store price, $5.99, as opposed to what her husband paid for a carton last weekend out of Pittsburg – $9.
Apparently, the ice cream had hit the underground market, she said.
Blue Bell Creameries reported they would begin distributing the ice cream in phase three of the market re-entry plan.
“Phase three reaches the remaining majority of Texas as well as central and southern Alabama,” said Ricky Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing for Blue Bell. “This is our largest phase to date but we will work as quickly as we can to get our products in stores. Freezers will be refilled as needed throughout the week.”
The company announced that Blue Bell is once again making ice cream at its three production facilities located in Brenham, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and Sylacauga, Alabama.
“We have increased our production capacity which allows us to build enough inventory to meet the consumer demand in our first two phases and move into phases three and four within a week of each other,” Dickson said. “With three of our plants now in production we also have plans to expand our flavor selection.”
For now Blue Bell is producing the following flavors of ice cream: Buttered Pecan, Cookies ’n Cream, Dutch Chocolate, Homemade Vanilla, Peppermint, Pistachio Almond and The Great Divide. 12-pak Homemade Vanilla cups and 12-pak Homemade Vanilla and Dutch Chocolate cups are also available in stores.
Blue Bell officials announced the company would begin phase four, which will cover the state of Louisiana and Jackson, Miss., and its surrounding areas, on Dec. 21. It was announced on Friday that the El Paso, Texas, Little Rock, Ark., and Memphis, Tenn., markets will have ice cream in stores beginning Jan. 11. A date for phase five has not yet been announced.
Brookshire’s issued a press release this week announcing the re-entry of the Blue Bell ice cream brand into the Brookshire’s stores beginning Monday in Texas cities from Marshall to Sweetwater.
According to Rebecca Sanders, with Brookshire’s, the Brookshire’s store on Rice Road in Tyler would
be the first store to receive a Monday delivery which was scheduled for 4 a.m. Deliveries to Brookshire’s, FRESH by Brookshire’s, and Super 1 Foods in various towns were reportedly to continue throughout the day on Monday (with no specific times available).
Stores will receive approximately seven varieties and quantities may be limited, Sanders said.
The Texas cities include Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Bullard, Canton, Chandler, Cisco, Daingerfield, Eastland, Flint, Gilmer, Gladewater, Grand Saline, Hallsville, Hawkins, Jefferson, Kilgore, Lindale, Longview, Marshall, Mineola, Mount Pleasant, Mount Vernon, New Boston, Overton, Palestine, Pittsburg, Quitman, Sweetwater, Texarkana, Troup, Van, White Oak, Whitehouse and Winnsboro. Ashdown, Arkansas Brookshire’s is also included in the list.
Blue Bell began returning its ice cream products to food markets Aug. 31, four months after a total product recall. That recall, announced April 20, 2015, was due to the potential for the products to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes after Blue Bell received several positive tests from products made in two different places, according to the company’s reports.