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Yarnell's returning to stores with familiar flavors

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published April 19, 2012 at 9:23 a.m. Updated April 19, 2012 at 12:48 p.m.


A Yarnell's truck sits outside the state Capitol on Thursday morning. The ice-cream company, long a staple in Arkansas before it closed in 2011, is back in production.

Yarnell's details return to stores

Yarnell's Ice Cream will be available in stores across the state beginning next week.

Returning flavors

Butter Pecan

Cookies & Cream

Death By Chocolate

Homemade Chocolate

Homemade Strawberry

Homemade Vanilla

Real Vanilla

Ozark Black Walnut

Rocky Road

Blueberries 'N Cream frozen yogurt

Chocolate frozen yogurt

Peaches 'N Cream frozen yogurt

Strawberry frozen yogurt

Vanilla frozen yogurt

Guilt-free Butter Pecan

Guilt-free Chocolate

Guilt-free Vanilla

Chocolate ice cream sandwiches

Homemade Vanilla ice cream sandwiches

— Yarnell's Ice Cream will be back in grocery stores as early as Monday, officials said at a news conference Thursday announcing the brand's comeback after a brush with bankruptcy.

Flavors returning to stores include butter pecan, cookies and cream, death by chocolate, homemade chocolate, homemade strawberry, homemade vanilla, real vanilla and Ozark black walnut and rocky road. Various yogurt and guilt-free flavors and ice cream sandwiches are also returning.

Yarnell's disappeared from shelves last year after a bankruptcy filing. It was bought by Chicago-based Schulze & Burch Biscuit Co., and in recent weeks, the company announced production had resumed.

Chief Executive Kevin Boyle promised fans the flavors would be made with the "same original recipes," although the containers will be larger cartons with rounded edges.

"We're bringing back the same recipes you know and love," he said. "You're just getting more of it."

All of the returning flavors were on display at the news conference, where more than 100 Yarnell's supporters — including Gov. Mike Beebe — sampled ice cream after the announcement.

The company played a promotional video depicting its new mascot, Scoop, taking the first carton of homemade vanilla off the production line and driving it to the Capitol. He then walked into the building and presented Boyle and Beebe with the ice cream.

Each man took a bite and — as Boyle returned to the podium to speak to the crowd — Beebe sneaked a second. He then gave it a positive review.

"It's been so long — eight months, nine months — since I've had this," Beebe said, spoon in hand. "I think it's better."

Yarnell's will be available in Wal-Mart, Kroger, Harp's and independent grocery stores across the state, as well as some locations in southern Missouri, Tulsa and northern Mississippi, the company said. 

Distribution begins next week with Yarnell's appearing as early as Monday and in Wal-Mart stores by Wednesday.

Mitch Evans, vice president of sales for Yarnell's and a 28-year veteran of the company, was among a number of employees scooping out samples Thursday. He called the return the "most gratifying moment" of his history with the company.

"It's very emotional, very rewarding, very exciting to be back," he said. "It's an Arkansas icon — kind of like the Razorbacks."

Boyle told the crowd his company didn't initially intend to buy Yarnell's, seeking at first only to hire some of its workers in a plant it has in Searcy making toaster pastries.

But when company officials saw the plant was in good shape, the work force was there and the state wanted its ice cream back, they decided to purchase and revive the brand.

"We realized there are many synergies between the two companies," Boyle said.

Boyle also promised Yarnell's fans that other flavors might be coming back in the future — either as seasonal options or when the lineup is expanded in the future.


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Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 total comments

dconard says... April 19, 2012 at 12:21 p.m.


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Spaulding says... April 19, 2012 at 12:32 p.m.

What, no Woo Pig Chewy?

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HJHS says... April 19, 2012 at 12:40 p.m.

From one Arkansas ice cream freak to many others... after reading the newsbreak, with tears in my eyes, thank you Schulze & Burch for bringing back Yarnell's with many of their old-time employees. Yes, Yarnell's is an Arkansas icon. Speaking of the Razorbacks, on return trips from the games, a favorite stopping spot is at Marble who used to carry Yarnell's. On any trip home from Fayetteville, we routinely stop for ice cream and Yarnell's is the best. Hint: Marble used to have White/House cherry/nut and it is the grandest. Praise God for continuing to bless Arkansas with great things! and Darlin'

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RBBrittain says... April 19, 2012 at 1:06 p.m.

@Spaulding: It's too early for Woo Pig Chewy (l'affaire Petrino notwithstanding); I'm sure it won't be ready till closer to fall. I'm just glad they included some of the Guilt Free flavors!

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RBBrittain says... April 19, 2012 at 1:13 p.m.

Oh, and let's not forget they went from 48 oz. to 56 oz. Still wish they'd go back to the full half-gallon, but at least Arkansans don't have to buy Texas ice cream (Blue Bell) anymore just to rail against the shrinking ice-cream container!

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minnowvale says... April 19, 2012 at 2:07 p.m.

WONDERFUL!!! We are clearing out a space in the freezer! Rocky has been too long! Now when they get Angel Food Vanilla we will be in heaven!!

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justlooking says... April 19, 2012 at 2:25 p.m.

All right...I haven't bought ice cream since the shelves went empty of Yarnell's...they're back, I'm back.

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Hillbillygranny says... April 19, 2012 at 7:20 p.m.

Grew up in Searcy, AR. Love Yarnells, can't purchase where I live now, but definitely the best ice cream out there. Glad to see it is coming back. Maybe their new distribution will include Springfield, MO where I now shop. Oh Yeah, no other rice except Riceland Rice.

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