Hoka Hey Foundry, located on highway 377 between Stephenville and Dublin, recently completed three bronzes, sculpted by noted artist Robert (Bob) Hogan of Dallas, for Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham. Hogan is best known for his life-like sculptures of sports figures and the three figures he completed for Blue Bell, which give the observer the feeling that action is taking place.
“The artist has depicted a moment in time when E.F. Kruse, manager of Blue Bell, hands over the management of the company, represented by a clip board, to his sons, Ed and Howard,” Bill Weiss, public relations manager of Blue Bell in the Brenham office, said. “Currently, Paul Kruse, grandson of E.F. is the CEO so the company stays under the manager ship of the family that helped make Blue Bell products well known. The company began in 1907 as the Brenham Creamery Co. and churned butter for the public. In 1930 the name was changed to Blue Bell Creamery. Today the little creamery founded in Texas has grown under the guidance of the Kruse family, to include creameries in 17 states with 2800 employees.”
The plant in Brenham alone has 850 employees.
“It takes 60,000 dairy cows to produce enough milk for our daily use,” Weiss, said. “Milk comes to our plant from many locations including Erath County to make the many products we create here.
E.F. Kruse served in the army in WWI and coming out of the service, earned a degree in education. He was planning to teach and had a job lined up when he was approached by a group of investors about managing the fledgling Brenham Creamery. He became manager of operations in 1919 and the company switched from churning butter to making ice cream. In the beginning they only had the facilities to turn out two gallons a day. Today the “little creamery” turns out tens of thousands of ice cream and other dairy products each day.
Ed and Howard Kruse graduated from A&M with degrees in dairy science, a natural fit for the creamery and under their leadership, the growth of the industry their father had managed, Blue Bell continued to expand. Paul Kruse is the third generation member to manage the Texas based creamery producing dairy products for the public. Their motto is, “We eat all we can and sell the rest.”
One Blue Bell customer, who buys ice cream three gallons at a time, said in answer to that, “Thank goodness they leave some for me!”