New life for shuttered Sheboygan dairy plant
SHEBOYGAN – A family-owned Sun Prairie-based cheese maker has struck a deal to buy the shuttered Dean Foods dairy plant near downtown, where it expects to add 50 jobs in the coming years.
City officials said Wednesday that Weyauwega Cheese Co. expects to take ownership of the property at 1606 Erie Ave. by late July and could begin production by fall.
The company also plans to open a retail store at the plant in the coming years.
The deal comes about 18 months after Dean Foods announced plans to close the more than 100-year-old plant, which was used to process milk under the Verifine brand and last employed about 70 people.
“(Weyauwega) is a family-owned operation with a track record in the dairy industry, so I think it’s a positive for the community,” said Chad Pelishek, the city’s development director. “It’s a great re-use of a building on a major corridor.”
The city’s Redevelopment Authority on Wednesday approved a 10-year $300,000 loan to assist with the project. The project will now go before the city’s Plan Commission for permitting.
Weyauwega Cheese Co. officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, but city leaders said they’ll use it to package and produce proprietary dairy products.
Pelishek said the company isn’t publicly disclosing the specific products.
Weyauwega, which is in its fourth generation of family ownership, will create about 20 new jobs as it begins production and then ramp up to 50 or so within three years.
The company makes a range of cheese and related products at five facilities located through the state, which are sold to retailers, distributors and food service clients.