On Bauer Business Focus – Ed Mayberry, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM, serves up a scoop of old-fashioned goodness. A food so good it’s enjoyed our whole lives, from early childhood to old age. Whether at a park, picnic, birthday party, front porch or after dinner, ice cream takes us to a special place.
After more than a century of churning delicious ice-cream out of its Brenham, Texas headquarters, Blue Bell ice cream continues to fill a place in the hearts and bowls of loyal followers across 19 states. Although the brand is available in about 26 percent of the nation’s supermarkets, it ranks as one of the leading sellers in the country.
Even in a recession, people can’t resist the sweet homemade taste of Blue Bell ice cream, no matter the premium. The reason is simple, says CEO and President Paul Kruse whose grandfather founded the company in 1907. “People tend to think of ice cream as a comfort food, as a reward. It just makes you feel good!”
And it’s true. Whether it’s the tried-and-true flavors like Homemade Vanilla and Buttered Pecan, the round half-gallon carton that held its size while other brands shrunk or the familiarity of a home-grown brand, Blue Bell ice cream makes you feel good.
Kruse’s tips for continued success combine smart business strategy and good taste:
- Keep Your Eyes on the Road — Ice cream is a fickle product. Any fluctuation in temperature during transport can ruin its smooth, creamy consistency. So Blue Bell uses its own trucks and drivers to ship the goods. “It is very expensive, but it guarantees the ice cream will get to the store and to your home in the best shape possible.”
- Open Your Doors — Last year, 160,000 visitors flocked to Brenham to tour the creamery. Kruse says letting customers experience the excitement of the factory floor helps build brand loyalty. “Ice cream is a fun food. It’s fun to make, and it’s difficult to make well, but we really enjoy doing it.”
- Know Your Niche — Blue Bell focuses solely on ice cream and related frozen desserts and has resisted the temptation to branch into other lines. Innovation within existing lines helps them maintain brand loyalty. “Our better-for-you flavors – our frozen yogurts, the lights and no-sugar added – continue to be a portion of our business for people who want to continue to buy Blue Bell when their eating habits change”
Click here to hear the full Bauer Business Focus interview.