A small update to an earlier item on Yarnell's Ice Cream from Gene Eagle at the Arkansas Development Finance Authority:
We have had folks in the press requesting access to files and records that if disclosed would give advantage to competitors or bidders. [This is an exception allowed to disclosure requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.] We contacted the company about this. Company representatives at Yarnell’s have indicated that although operations have ceased, efforts to market the company are ongoing and several entities have expressed interest in acquiring and operating the facility in Searcy. Needless to say, due to the extremely sensitive nature of these negotiations, each party must execute a Non-Disclosure (Confidentiality) Agreement to protect the parties involved.
UPDATE: I'd hoped to look at some Arkansas Economic Development Commission files on this today, but now that the company says it remains active in seeking a buyer, that state agency, too, is invoking the FOI exemption on files that could present a competitive disadvantage if disclosed. I did learn that Yarnell's has not made interest payments on its block grant loan for about a year. Prior to that, it was making essentially only interest payments, having been unable to pay down the principle amount owed by less than $100,000 over the course of the $1.5 million loan.
But here's some hopeful news: Bryan Scoggins, director of business finance at the department, said he had talked within the last week, including today, with representatives of potential buyers of the Yarnell's assets. Too early to say if a deal is cooking. Scoggins said, "We want to be sure they are solid people with a reasonable chance of making things work"