Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery Wins the 2021 Top Development Award

Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery Wins the 2021 Top Development Award Main Photo

20 Apr 2022


Congratulations to Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery for winning the 2021 Top Development Award. Momentum West presented the award at their annual economic development award ceremony. “We celebrate the best of what’s happening in West Central Wisconsin. Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery is certainly among the best and we are excited to recognize their continued growth and contributions to our community,” said Steve Jahn, Executive Director of Momentum West. 

The Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery received this award for their expansion into Menomonie. This greenfield project will replace their aging Comstock, WI production plant and will focus on the production of three main product lines, those being 40 lb. blocks, brine products including their award-winning Muenster, and horns for our unique Antonella artisan cheeses.

The facility will also include their third retail store where they plan to have one of the largest selections of Wisconsin-made cheeses in the area, as well as their popular take-n-bake pizzas, house-made fudge, and ice cream. “One novelty for the new store will be that we will be offering some to-go food items including deep-fried cheese curds! We hope to have cheese production underway, and the new store open by mid-March 2022. It’s been a long process and our team here is very excited to see the results of all the hard work,” said Paul Bauer, CEO of Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery. 

This growth creates opportunities for additional employee and member advancement as well, something Bauer is passionate about. “Being able to provide these opportunities for people and see individuals come into themselves, grow, advance, and make a difference in the community is what it’s all about for me.” He continued, “I enjoy seeing not only seeing businesses, but people growing and developing in their careers. We have a group of fantastic individuals as employees and members. This project is yet another opportunity for growth, professionally and personally.”

Finding the right talent, and keeping them, is critical for every business. Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery has had an easy time of it in West Central WIsconsin. “We have found when a new employee comes on board with Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery and stays with us for 6 months, they are here for the long term. This is because we offer so many areas and opportunities for our employees to challenge themselves. We have team members who have started working with us in high school that today hold key positions within our organization. And this doesn’t just impact our company. I believe this creates a ripple effect--this is not only a benefit to our organization but also to the communities we serve. Often, it’s these same individuals that go on to tackle issues important to the community and their families using the skills they developed in their career with us,” said Bauer. 

Being located in the region has benefited the organization in other ways as well. “The Momentum West region is very unique as we are fortunate to be well-served by several transportation methods including the interstate, railroads, airport, rail, and seaports. That’s something that is rare and difficult to find in one area. This has benefited Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery immensely,” said Bauer.  “In addition, we have some great infrastructure when it comes to sewer plants. This is critical to cheesemaking. Menomonie’s infrastructure in this area was one of the selling points for us and instrumental in us selecting Menomonie for our expansion. We were able to work with the municipality and the city to ensure the system could accommodate us and our needs.”

“We had a fantastic experience working with the city of Menomonie. They worked hard to understand and meet our needs and really made the process very seamless considering this was our first greenfield expansion. We look forward to being a part of the Menomonie community.”

About Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery 

Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery is a dairy cooperative owned by members. Members elect a board of directors who is responsible for setting the tone and direction for the organization. “Under the leadership of the board, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery has been very strategic in making investments that ensure the best returns on milk for our farmer-owners and the long-term viability of the organization into the future. Our new production facility in Menomonie is one of those investments, and we look forward to maximizing the return on this investment for our members, employees, community, and state,” said Bauer.

Ellsworth Cooperative CreameryThe Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery has been around for 112 years. “We continue to strive to grow and be our best in business, provide a prosperous and rewarding environment for our employees, and in the process enhance the communities where we are located,” said Bauer. 

Learn more about the organization by visiting their website - https://www.ellsworthcheese.com/.