Blue Bell

Blue Bell products available, but local plant still not operational

2012-09-23T00:30:00Z 2012-09-23T01:15:29Z Blue Bell products available, but local plant still not operationalBY BRENT STEWART, THE SOUTHERN The Southern
September 23, 2012 12:30 am  • 

DU QUOIN — More than a year ago, shoppers saw the legendary Blue Bell label return to grocery store shelves.

Since ranchers Ray Gardner and David Pearl of Du Quoin Specialty Meats re-launched the Blue Bell name and began the process of reopening the old Du Quoin Packing Co. plant, they have almost doubled their line of products and the number of stores carrying it.

You can now find Blue Bell in more than 80 locations from Indiana to Cairo and soon, Du Quoin Specialty Meats will have its own retail location for Blue Bell fans to buy their favorite bologna, bacon, ham, salami and cheeses.

For almost 65 years, Blue Bell meats from Du Quoin were on kitchen tables and in lunchboxes throughout Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, and Alabama. The original owners, the Du Quoin Packing Co. closed in 1990.

Gardner and Pearl purchased the old packing plant on East Cole Street in 1991, right after the structure was gutted by fire.

Over the last 20 years, Gardner and Pearl have been working to reopen the plant as a production facility, and are getting closer to that goal. However, extreme weather last June ripped the roof from one of the buildings, significantly delaying its opening.

But now, Pearl said, the economy and high prices in the beef market have not yet made it feasible to re-open the plant as a production facility.

“We are continually renovating and expanding and putting in the tools, but we’re not throwing money into something just to speed it up,” Pearl said. “We have not backed off from our long-range goals, but our timeframe is being controlled or adjusted by the current state of the economy.”

Du Quoin Specialty Meats are contracting out production to “mom and pop” plants. Although the new Blue Bell recipes are not exactly the same as the original, their seasonings are from the same company, Excalibur in Pekin.

Pearl said Du Quoin Specialty Meats have expanded the current line of Blue Bell products in the last few months. They now offer a family-style bologna made of beef and pork, pickle loaf, frozen brick chili starters and complete frozen chili, beef sticks, and a beef sloppy joe mix. In addition, their meats are now available at deli counters.

“From the feedback we get from people, the family-style bologna we added probably more closely resembles the original Blue Bell bologna,” Pearl said.

Because of the reaction and demand to the introduction of Blue Bell products to the marketplace, Pearl said Du Quoin Specialty Meats will open a retail location at the East Cole Street packing plant.

Pearl said the retail part of the plant is currently under construction. He hopes it will be open in early November.

Although Pearl said he was initially against the idea of a retail outlet, he said the number of customers they have driving long distances and reaction from attendees of the Illinois Food and Wine Products Show at the Du Quoin State Fair convinced him otherwise.

“We finally pulled the trigger on that after talking to a lot of people,” Pearl said.

brent.stewart@thesouthern.com

618-351-5805

On Twitter: @BrentStewartSI

Copyright 2015 The Southern. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Local stocks

Alcoa Inc.`12.50

4 hours ago(0)

Local stocks

Alcoa Inc.`12.66

May 29, 2015 1:00 am(0)
Marion's The Hill goes from abandoned strip mine to economic driver

Marion's The Hill goes from abandoned strip mine to economic driver

MARION – The Hill is now a common phrase for those who frequent Mayor Bob Butler’s “Hub of the Universe,” but before 2003 it was just an aband… Updated: 11:57 pm

May 28, 2015 5:00 am Photos

Photos

Related (0)
Some say there is a decrease in golf players, some there isn't

Some say there is a decrease in golf players, some there isn't

A golf course used to be viewed as the place where one of the nation’s most popular games was played, but now post-Millennials may not be able…

May 24, 2015 10:00 am Related (0)

Southern Bus & Mobility kicks off awareness month

Southern Bus & Mobility has joined with the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association to kick off the fourth annual National Mobilit…

May 24, 2015 3:00 am(0)
Saint Francis names new IS director

Saint Francis names new IS director

Gene Magnus has been promoted to director of Information Systems at Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau.

May 24, 2015 2:00 am(0)
Apple City barbecue team 9th at World Championship

Apple City barbecue team 9th at World Championship

Mike Mills and the Apple City Barbecue team had a good weekend in the Whole Hog Competition at the 38th annual Memphis in May at the World Cha…

May 24, 2015 1:00 am(1)
Duncan: CEO program is a great investment in future generations

Duncan: CEO program is a great investment in future generations

A new program is coming to many counties in Southern Illinois that will, hopefully, have a huge impact on high school students in the area.

May 24, 2015 12:45 am Related (0)
Activate subscription button gif
Follow the Southern Illinoisan
Submit Press Release

Email to news@thesouthern.com.

Business Events

Email Alerts

Get the latest business headlines delivered to your inbox each month. (View Sample)

Our daily top stories delivered to your inbox at five o'clock each morning. (View Sample)

Markets & Stocks