University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Albert R. Yarnell


Albert R. Yarnell

Yarnell Ice Cream Co.
Searcy, Arkansas


Albert R. Yarnell is a patriarch of the country's ice cream industry. He is recognized as an industry innovator and has established business relationships with such brands as Nestlé, Dreyer's and Häagen Dazs. In 1978, he personally created the nation's first all natural ice milk and led the team that invented the nation's first non-fat, no-sugar-added ice cream in 1990. Yarnell Ice Cream Co. has eleven distribution centers, serving 3,500 outlets as well as the food service industry. Yarnell served on the board of the International Ice Cream Association for 18 years.

He was born in 1923 in Searcy, Ark. At the age of 12, he began working for his father who had purchased a bankrupt dairy during the Depression. Following service in World War II, he attended the University of Missouri and then joined the family ice cream company in 1948. He became chairman in 1985. Under his direction, Yarnell's developed a nationally recognized, sophisticated direct store distribution system. Among his many civic involvements, Yarnell was board chairman for Baptist Health in 1987-88 and continues as a member of the Baptist Health Corporation. He also has served on the board of the State Chamber of Commerce since 1970.


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