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One hundred and twenty five days ago, all Blue Bell ice cream products were recalled and the Fort Worth community began to feel the effects.
Now, the return of the ice cream is in sight and the city reflects on their time without Blue Bell and awaits its return.
That return is set for Aug. 31. According to Blue Bell representative Jenny Vandors, phase one of the redistribution plan includes the Brenham, Houston and Austin, Texas areas as well as Birmingham and Montgomery, Ala. The Tarrant County area is scheduled to get the ice cream next, during phase two, which has no specific start date.
“Once we can properly service that first area, then we can look at expanding,” Vandors said.
That expansion is something Audra Caldwell, assistant department manager for the Kroger on University Drive is ready for.
“Everyone is anticipating the Blue Bell return,” Caldwell said. “We’re like a big Blue Bell nation.”
This brand loyalty is something Vandors says Blue Bell is very grateful for.
“We’ve been really impressed by the support from retailers and customers,” Vandors said. “We’ve been really thankful they stood behind us.”
One of those vendors which has promised to take Blue Bell back is Sweet Sammie’s, a local dessert shop located off West 7th. Sweet Sammie’s traditionally serves Blue Bell ice cream with their homemade cookies.
A representative from Blue Bell told Sweet Sammie’s co-owner Kelly Close that the cookie shop wouldn’t have Blue Bell again until Nov. 1. Sweet Sammie’s has been serving Blue Bunny ice cream as a substitute in the meantime.
Close said they haven’t noticed a big change in business since the recall, mostly just people asking when Blue Bell will be back.
“About the only effect we’ve seen from people walking out is maybe five people,” She said. “The majority of the people try this ice cream, it’s good.”
Despite the small change in business, fellow Co-Owner Dan Close said he just wishes they had better information on when the Blue Bell brand will return to Fort Worth.
“We don’t get anything more than the public does.” Dan Close said. “Nobody dislikes this ice cream, they just want Blue Bell.”