Gresham Smith has partnered with Blue Bell for many years and has been honored to play a role as they experience tremendous growth and an increasing market share. Market demand has led to the need for increased capacity, and also ways for facilities and operations to become more efficient.
Gresham Smith provided architectural and engineering design services for the demolition of an existing low-rise freezer and rebuilding of a new high bay storage freezer. This effort also included a new 2,600-square-foot blast hardening area, anteroom with three loading docks and a new shipping office. This facility addition totaled 7,600 square feet and included installation of additional refrigeration equipment in parts of the existing freezer, construction of temporary passages and conveyor rework to maintain plant operations during construction, and rebuilding an existing 2,000-square-foot palletizing area adjacent to the new freezer.
Blue Bell continues to utilize Gresham Smith to design and build their distribution branches and transfer stations across the U.S., but our design services aren’t limited to their production business. Blue Bell’s factory tour was so popular they had outgrown their allotted space within the facility and needed to increase both capacity and efficiency. Gresham Smith was asked to reallocate the current tour space as well as convert the warehouse to a parlor and gift shop, more than doubling the tour space while also helping progression of the tour from exhibit space to gift shop.
The new facility now includes exhibit space that displays Blue Bell artifacts where customers start the tour, the comprehensive tour itself as well as an ice cream parlor and gift shop. It was important to Blue Bell that the down-home feel of rural Texas be reflected in the new space and that customers experience a celebration of Blue Bell’s heritage, not feel as though this was a profit center. The gift shop is bigger and its design more consistent, and the parlor is a showcase for what Blue Bell does best – great tasting ice cream. Ten thousand visitors were able to tour the facility the first week it was open, far exceeding Blue Bell’s expectations.