An ice cream maker will break ground today on a new distribution center on Tucson's southeast side.

Blue Bell Creameries will build a 14,000-square-foot building at 9398 E. Old Vail Road and plans to open in the fall.

The popularity of the frozen treats led to plans for the permanent facility, said Angela Muniz, a spokeswoman for the company.

Blue Bell currently rents distribution space at 3219 E. 45th St.

From that facility, which has a fleet of eight trucks, Blue Bell ice cream products are delivered throughout Southern Arizona.

The two markets that have not been served - San Luis and Douglas - will be added after the new facility is finished, Muniz said.

When the plant opens, the company will hire at least four additional drivers and salespeople, Muniz said. There are currently 16 employees.

Joe Granson, Blue Bell's sales manager, said the most popular flavors in the Tucson market are:

• Vanilla

• Dutch chocolate

• Cookies & Cream

• Pecan pralines 'n cream