Firm puts 100-million pounds of cheese on ice
PLYMOUTH - Inside a sprawling warehouse, a forklift driver works his way around 640-pound blocks of cheddar cheese stacked six high and stretching toward the ceiling.
Workers manage this massive stockpile down to each individual block, with different cheeses requiring different temperatures and different aging time frames.The temperature-controlled facility is one of a dozen owned by Glacier Transit & Storage, which transports, stores and ages up to 100-million pounds of cheese at any given time for Wisconsin food companies.
“I’ll get a guy who calls and says, ‘I have a load of cheese and I want to store it at 38-degrees, do you have room?’” said Kyle Nothem, the company’s president. “We move a wall, change a temperature, and boom, you’ve got it.”
The family-owned company has expanded four times since 2010 and now manages 680,000 square feet of storage space at facilities in Sheboygan, Plymouth and Waldo. Employment has grown during that period from 25 employees to 34. With the cheese industry booming and demand for storage space rising, business continues to grow for supply-chain service companies such as Glacier, which specializes in cold storage and transportation for food companies.
The company adds value for its customers by providing a cost-effective way to manage perishable inventory, which has become even more complex due to stricter federal regulations on food storage.
Currently, about 85 percent of the business is focused on cheese storage, though in recent years the company has branched out into specialty products, such as craft beer and quinoa.
“Everyone is worried about protecting their product through the supply chain,” said Nothem, who along with his wife, Beth, represent the fourth-generation of family members involved in running the business. “Inventory control is huge.”