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Yarnell’s ceases operations

By: 1 July 2011 One Comment

An estimated 200 people lost their jobs and a whole region will be without what has been a favorite ice cream for 75 years. Yarnell’s Premium Ice Cream ceased operations Thursday, according to a press release that was issued the same day.

The privately-owned company is based in Searcy.

Here’s a piece of the press release:

“This has been an extremely tough year for the ice cream industry in general, and particularly to regional, independent manufacturers like ourselves,” said Christina Yarnell, chief executive officer of Yarnell’s. “We have examined many possible avenues to keep the company afloat – actively marketing the company to investors and strategic buyers– the majority of whom are undergoing the same financial distress we are. However, we’ve been unable to obtain additional financing from our lenders or locate a buyer, and have come to the difficult decision that the appropriate course of action is to shut our doors.”

Approximately 75 percent of Yarnell’s employees work at the Searcy headquarters, with the rest of the employee base located throughout the state and in Tennessee and Mississippi. A small team will remain working for the company to finalize operations, with completion expected by Aug. 27.

“Yarnell’s has been an Arkansas staple for more than 75 years, and it’s been a family business that started with my great-grandfather, Ray, and has involved four generations of the Yarnell family. Ceasing operations is heartbreaking because we have prided ourselves on keeping our roots in Arkansas, particularly Searcy.

“We are truly thankful for our amazing employees and the heart and soul that they have put into the past successes of this company. They are great people. And I can’t say enough about our customers and their loyalty to Yarnell’s. It’s been a pleasure creating the highest quality ice cream that they can be proud to serve to their families and friends. I, personally, will miss hearing their wonderful feedback and encouraging comments.”

Sales of ice cream and related products have steadily declined over the past five years across the United States. In order to compensate for declining sales, the larger manufacturers continue to jockey for retailers’ shelf space through price competition.

This, along with steadily increasing commodity prices (cream, sugar, fuel, etc.), has resulted in significant financial damage to regional ice cream manufacturers such as Yarnell’s.

Read a note from Christina Yarnell

About: Jamie Smith:
Experienced reporter who is now an entrepreneur. Jamie's Notebook offers writing services including press releases, corporate blogging and feature writing.

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