DENMARK - Something is NOT rotten in Denmark.
Rather, the former Lake to Lake factory will soon smell a lot like cheese once again.
You can thank Titletown Cheese Trading Co. President Jerry Haines and the high-quality dairy farmers and cheesemakers of Wisconsin for the revival of the former Lake to Lake plant on Wall Street.
Almost four years after the cheese plant closed in 2014, Haines bought the plant, which locals might also know as the Land O' Lakes plant, and plans to renovate it in phases beginning this spring. The new space, in addition to Titletown's current packaging and distribution center in Plymouth, means Titletown Cheese will need to hire 25-40 new people.
"We're excited and nervous," Haines said. "It's amazing all the people who have reached out to us already."
The move will significantly expand Titletown Cheese's office space, milk and cheese storage capacity, and distribution space.
"It helps us with more space for new products to package and wrap, as well as to help us promote Wisconsin dairy products around the world. We have more room to focus on artisan and specialty cheese," Haines said. "Our goal is to raise the value of milk and cheese products for the dairy industry."
You've probably never heard of Titletown Cheese, but you've definitely eaten some of the cheese it processes, packages and distributes to grocers and specialty stores. The company essentially serves as a middleman for the cheese industry.
"People eating our cheese probably don't even know it," he said. "We package it for private labels. We're a bit of a secret in the business."
The company buys large volumes of cheeses, especially artisan and specialty styles, from 30 Wisconsin cheesemakers and another 15 producers around the United States. It then processes it, packages it under private labels and distributes it to retailers.
Haines, a licensed cheesemaker and cheese grader, also consults with dairy farmers and cheese producers about how to improve production, quality and asking prices for their commodities.
Haines' focus on artisan and specialty cheeses is not new. In fact, he was far ahead of the cheese consuming curve when he founded Titletown Cheese back in 2005 under the name Good Home Foods. He changed the name in 2007.
"We're the guy nobody hears about, the guy behind the scenes. We've developed a niche in the dairy industry," Haines said. "There are cheese traders all over the world, but their focus is not always on helping the farmers."
He said the Denmark plant will offer space to store large volumes of dairy products to support prices when there's a glut on the market and to ensure there's a supply for times when demand is high and volume is low.
Titletown Cheese expects to start accepting employment applications in two or three weeks, Haines said. General labor and warehouse experience is preferred. He said interested applicants should check the company's website www.titletowncheese.net or Craigslist for postings.