RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - You're about to see a new ice cream in some grocery stores, and it's creating some new jobs. Blue Bell Ice Cream is opening a distribution center in Richmond and breaking into the Virginia market.
Based in Texas, Blue Bell has been making ice cream for 106 years. Their best seller: Homemade Vanilla.
"It tastes like your homemade hand-cranked, like your grandma's," said Blue Bell Country Girl Anna Pugh.
But they have 18 flavors, as Richmond Branch Manager Mark Fancher started listing for us, "Dutch chocolate, strawberry, homemade vanilla, we've got a red velvet cake."
Plus special flavors for different regions and seasons. "Christmas Cookies comes out around Christmas time, so we have that one, we have our blackberry cobbler," added Pugh.
Blue Bell says their ice cream is a favorite of President George W. Bush and that he served it to some dignitaries. They say three astronauts have taken it up into space. And now they're hoping you're going to like it, because this is their first launch into Virginia.
Blue Bell says its the 3rd best selling ice cream brand in the country, even though it's only in 20 states, mostly in the South.
"We've been in the Carolinas for years, been in Tennessee, so we've had Virginia surrounded, I guess you could say," said Fancher of their decision to come to Virginia.
You'll find Blue Bell in Kroger, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and Farm Fresh, and in some restaurants: Carraba's, Outback Steakhouse, and the new Chuy's coming to West Broad Village. It will be delivered from a distribution center on South Laburnum until they later build a permanent location. The company expects to hire 15 to 20 people over the next year: driver salesmen, merchandisers, and office staff. There's also a transfer station in suffolk, which will hire another 8 to 10.
Said Fancher, "It's all about an attitude, we're selling ice cream, that should be fun."
And they're hoping their move into Richmond will be as sweet as their newest flavor. "It's called Lemon Bliss and it's a lemon ice cream and has lemon filled cookies in it, really good," smiled Fancher.