Blue Bell Ice Cream will open two distribution centers in Virginia

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Texas-based Blue Bell Ice Cream soon will be serving markets within a 70-mile radius of Richmond through distribution operations in Richmond and Suffolk.

The company announced Monday that it will establish a “branch” or distribution center with warehouse/office space, cold storage facilities and loading docks in Richmond along with a smaller distribution facility in Suffolk.  For now, the Blue Bell branch will operate in leased space at 5733 S. Laburnum Ave. in Richmond, and the transfer station will be located at 1982 Northgate Commerce Parkway in Suffolk.

From these locations, Blue Bell will serve markets with a total population of nearly 2.5 million, including Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, all of Hampton Roads and Elizabeth City and Nags Head in northeastern North Carolina.

The Richmond branch will have a staff of 15 to 20 employees, including driver salesmen, merchandisers, territory managers and office staff.  The Suffolk transfer station will have a staff of eight to 10 employees.

In Richmond, Mark Fancher will be branch manager. He was a sales manager for Blue Bell in Knoxville, Tenn. Heath Stallings will serve as sales manager for the Suffolk transfer station. 

Starting on March 18, Blue Bell ice cream will be sold at Walmart, Kroger, Walgreen’s and Farm Fresh stores plus other chain and independent grocery stores, drugstores and convenience stores. 

According to the company, the ice cream ― which got its start in Brenham, Texas— is the No. 3 selling ice cream in the U.S. It is sold in parts of only 20 states.

The company said both President George H.W. Bush and his son, President George W. 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.

The company said its 250-product lineup will be distributed directly to supermarkets and food stores in Virginia in Blue Bell trucks. 

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