Friday, September 4, 2015

{#bluebellisback}

On a Friday back in March, we received an email & at the time, we had no clue that it was only the beginning of a snowball of bad news.  News broke soon thereafter of the 3 deaths in Kansas.  A week or two later, that was followed up with a partial recall of some of our snack products.  Certainly that was the worst of it...we would recall the products, clean the machines & move on.  Never in a million years would I have ever dreamed what was to come. More recalls, a plant closure, a total recall, more plant closures, layoffs...it just kept getting worse & worse.  Those were tough times; I am not going to lie.  There were sleepless nights & tears cried.  The one job I had known for almost 19 years was crumbling around me & it was scary as hell. We hit rock bottom on Friday, May 15th & there were definitely some very dark days following that.  But,  things {very} slowly started to look up.  Eventually there was talk that Sylacauga would be the first to begin producing again & before we knew it, trucks started rolling into Brenham with ice cream. There was a week or two where the days were long, but one good thing is that through all of this - time really has flown by. 
 
It was soon announced that Blue Bell would hit shelves on Monday, August 31st.  Can you say Best.Day.Ever?!?  Monday was seriously like  Christmas morning.  Just the anticipation of it was CRAZY!!  Our route drivers had to hit the road around 3:30am so we decided to come up that morning & make them breakfast...it was the least we could do.  My alarm went off at 1:40am, but I'm fairly certain I never really went to sleep....how could I?!?  By 2:15am, we had the electric skillets going & coffee brewing. 7 1/2 dozen eggs & 80 tortillas later, we had enough breakfast tacos for most of Washington County.  What can I say, we don't do anything "little"...when we do something, we do it right.  In fact, I am pretty sure all 13 of us crazy ladies with our breakfast tacos & goodie bags were a little overwhelming for all those guys that time of the morning.  ;)
But, it was so much fun & so worth getting only a few hours of sleep for.  We had a blast & I really do think the guys appreciated it. The best part of the morning was standing out on the corner of 577/Blue Bell Road & Buchanan Street to cheer on each driver as they left.  When that first truck pulled out, I am fairly certain everyone had tears in their eyes. Our Brenham route truck even got a COP escort - lights & all - to HEB.

I think we knew the response to us returning to the market would be good, but we quickly realized just how incredible it was when there were people standing in line at grocery stores before they even opened; it was kinda like Black Friday!!  Most stores were sold out by mid-morning.

It was so cool to see "Blue Bell" trending on Facebook & Instagram. Our route drivers quickly went to celebrity status; it was so fun to listen to their stories of taking selfies with fans & how people actually made uturns & followed their trucks to see where they were making their next delivery. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU for welcoming us back with open arms. 
 
 
At 9:00am, we had an ice cream party in the break room & were finally able to sample it for ourselves. It was definitely as good as we all remembered.  And nope, we weren't able to eat all we can & sell the rest this time - selling was definitely top priority! =)
After a crazy busy day, we ended it at Las Fuentes with margaritas & Mexican food.  How else do you think we would have ended it?!?  It was so exciting to finally have a celebratory drink!  Once I finally got home after an almost 18 hour day, I let Nola partake in the celebration.  As you can tell, she was quite the fan. =)

The amount of support & loyalty over the past few months has been beyond amazing.  I also know that there are some "non-supporters" out there...and that's ok.  I'm not going to go into a debate with anyone over what Blue Bell did right or wrong.  Are they perfect?  Nope...and neither are any of us.  We all make mistakes, but you learn from them & move on a better person.

It's like several people said over the past few days - it's more than just ice cream.  And I'll leave it at that.

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