Blue Bell Creameries is an American food company that manufactures ice cream. It was founded in 1907 in Brenham, Texas. For much of its early history, the company manufactured both ice cream and butter locally. In the mid-20th century, it abandoned butter production and expanded to the entire state of Texas and soon much of the Southern United States. The companys corporate headquarters are located at the "Little Creamery" in Brenham, Texas. Since 1919, it has been in the hands of the Kruse family. Despite being sold in a limited number of states, as of 2015 Blue Bell is the fourth highest-selling ice cream brand in the United States as a whole. The company has its roots in the Brenham Creamery Company, which opened in 1907 to purchase excess cream from local dairy farmers and sell butter to people in Brenham, Texas, a town situated approximately 70 miles northwest of Houston. In 1911, the creamery began to produce small quantities of ice cream. By 1919, the creamery was in financial trouble and considered closing its doors. The board of directors hired E.F. Kruse, a 23-year-old former schoolteacher, to take over the company on April 1, 1919. Kruse refused to accept a salary for his first few months in the position so that the company would not be placed in further debt. Under his leadership, the company expanded its production of ice cream to the surrounding Brenham area and soon became profitable. At his suggestion, the company was renamed Blue Bell Creameries in 1930 after the Texas Bluebell, a wildflower native to Texas, and which like ice cream thrives during the summer.