Hiland to Remedy 'Brand Identity Crisis,' Change Coleman Name in January

The Hiland Dairy brand will replace the Coleman Dairy brand in early January, Coleman General Manager Mike Flagg said Tuesday.

Arkansas Business broke the story of the brand change on Monday, quoting a company insider. At the time, Coleman Dairy had not confirmed a specific time frame for the change.

"This was a business decision that was made several years ago," Flagg said. "It's been really expensive to keep the Coleman brand name just for the Little Rock market."

Coleman Dairy of Little Rock has been a division of Hiland Dairy of Springfield, Mo., since 2007.

Retailers carried Hiland products throughout the state, but had to run different promotional material for the few Arkansas areas that sold the Coleman brand.

"It was just confusing to our customers and to our retailers. There was a brand identity crisis," Flagg said. 

The company planned the change for January to allow retailers to get through the busy holidays. Hiland also waited to make the change to allow Coleman to celebrate its 150th anniversary earlier this year.

"Hiland's been really good to this company, and they will continue to be good to central Arkansas and the community," Flagg said. "Wouldn't it be awful to go out at 149? There's a great amount of respect for the Coleman family … throughout Hiland."

Once the Coleman name is gone, Hiland will offer Coleman retailers a more varied array of Hiland brand products, including ice cream, cheese and yogurt, produced at specialty plants.

Flagg said that to avoid brand confusion, Hiland previously offered retailers who carried Coleman brands few Hiland products beyond what could be produced at the lone Coleman plant in Little Rock.

The name change won't affect the 210 Coleman jobs in Little Rock.

"A few letters on the jug. That's all it is," Flagg said.

Company shirts, letterhead and truck detailing will eventually change, as well.

Coleman began in Little Rock in 1862 as a family company. Hiland will continue to employ Coleman family members, including Walt Coleman, controller, and Cherb Coleman, plant manager. Their brother, Bob Coleman, is retiring this week from his sales manager position after 40 years with the company.