Blue Bell is back

Luling distribution center starts delivering ice cream

A smile stretched across the face of Dana Majoria Monday afternoon for more than one reason.

The Majoria’s Supermarket owner not only had a hot selling item — customers were happily buying up Blue Bell items, after the ice cream brand returned to his shelves that morning — but he was able to get his own fix as well.

“It’s a great seller, people love it,” said Majoria, a store owner. “I love ice cream, too. I haven’t found anything better. You figure you can do without it, but it’s really a good product.”

Blue Bell went missing from store shelves nationally since the Texas-based company issued a full recall of all its products April 20, after samples of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream half gallons produced on March 17 and March 27 contained the potentially deadly bacteria Listeria monocytogenes.

The ice cream has been redistributed in different areas of the country through the company’s five phase plan. The plan entered Phase 4 on Dec. 21, which saw the return of Blue Bell to Louisiana and Mississippi areas.

“(The shipment) Came in at 3 a.m.,” Majoria said. “It’s very exciting. Customers are very happy, you can see (reaction) on Facebook. When we announced it would be back in week of Christmas, they wanted to know exactly when, right away. Will it be there when you open up? It got a lot of attention.”

The return of the ice cream locally coincides with the opening of a Blue Bell distribution center in Luling. The 14,700- square-foot facility in Esperanza Business Park, officially opened Tuesday and Majoria noted his store was the first stop on the center’s opening distribution route. Blue Bell spokesman Joe Robertson said the company was “thrilled” to have their brand back on store shelves.

“We’ve been building our inventory back up and releasing them in phases, accordingly,” Robertson said, also noting that the Luling center’s opening was planned to coincide with the redistribution. “It’s there to help us better serve the area, and it should help us in a major way.”

When the center was announced, Robertson said it would allow room for growth and said St. Charles Parish was perfectly situated for a distribution facility.

“It will allow all three branches to grow,” Robertson said, alluding to other branches in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. “We are really excited about it,” he said.  

In another bit of positive news, Robertson said the company has been able to bring back more than 300 of its furloughed workers over the past two weeks, calling back 115 employees Monday and 215 during Phase 3.

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