Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) is set to open its first ice cream factory outside of Oregon in a bid to satisfy growing demand for its products, the co-op reported.
The newly-acquired factory is located in Decatur, Illinois. It was formerly owned and operated by Prairie Farms from 1977 until early 2022, when it was permanently closed.
This will be the second ice cream factory owned by TCCA, which also operates an ice cream production facility in Tillamook, Oregon. While the Oregon-based plant will remain operational, it had reached its production capacity, leading the co-op to rely on contract manufacturers to meet consumer appetite beyond the Northwest.
“Consumer demand for Tillamook Ice Cream has grown exponentially over the past several years,” commented Mike Bever, executive vice-president of operations at TCCA. “This new facility is an investment in our continued national expansion plans.”
He added: “Opening this Illinois manufacturing location will enable us to make more of our ice cream closer to the eastern US, where demand for our ice cream is growing fast. In the last year, we've added 1.6 million households and grown ice cream sales nearly 60% in the eastern US.”
The co-op will invest and upgrade the ice cream plant in the next 18 to 24 months, with a goal to open in October 2024. Around 45 people are expected to be employed at the site.
According to a real estate advert published by auction and appraisal firm Harry Davis & Company, the factory has an annual production capacity of 12.5 million gallons of ice cream and comprises a 57,000sq.ft production facility and a 22.4sq.ft freezer warehouse.
It comes equipped with 17 silos and tanks as well as a pasteurization system, homogenizing equipment, and various freezer and refrigeration solutions.