Tillamook Cheese Factory's transition

| Print |  Email
Articles - February 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013

 

0213 Tillamook 05
Tillamook cheese is a familiar Northwest favorite. In the long term, the company hopes to make itself better known around the country.

Closer to home, Tillamook has a century-old reputation for supporting farmers, providing lasting jobs in the community and generating plenty of tourism activity. The cheese factory alone draws more than 1 million visitors each year, sampling some 30,000 pounds of cheese annually and selling close to 3,000 ice cream cones and dishes each day during the peak summer months.

“Tillamook is the hub for the whole county,” says Suzanne Weber, mayor of Tillamook.

Which is partly why news of employee layoffs in early 2012 stung so badly. Last February the association cut nearly 50 packaging positions from its facility to reduce transportation costs. Up until then, about half of Tillamook’s cheese had been made at a factory in Boardman, trucked to Tillamook for aging, shipped to Idaho for shredding, slicing and packaging, sent back to Tillamook to be warehoused and, eventually, distributed to customers. By outsourcing to two facilities in Idaho and Utah that cut, package and distribute the cheese, Tillamook aimed to save millions, according to then-CEO Strunk.

The news hit hard in Tillamook. Vitriolic comments and accusations of a sellout sprouted up in response to media stories. Someone started a Facebook page called “I used to buy Tillamook Cheese when it was made in Tillamook” in protest.

But the initial flare-up seemed to cool off, and many viewed the job losses not as a one-time hit but as one more layer of the region’s larger economic troubles.

“We had already lost a lot of jobs in the public sector, which made a pretty big impact here as well,” Weber says. “The cheese factory is one of the major employers, but I can’t say that I can see that [the layoffs] have resulted in a loss of business downtown or anything like that. Small towns like this are just the last to recover from a bad economy.”

That said, Weber says she thinks there’s room for Tillamook to become more involved with the greater community, and to use its clout and appeal to help revitalize what used to be a much more energetic city.

“When I moved here 30 years ago, every business was full, but that vibrant flow of energy has gone away,” she says. “We are working hard to engage the cheese factory to work with us.”

 



 

Comments   

 
Guest
-2 #1 one who loves your cheeseGuest 2015-01-08 00:20:21
Your cheese is tasting different and I've eaten your cheese for 40 years or as long as you have been there. It isn't the same. It is tasteless,it is a different color, the sharp I bought as a gift for me at Xmas was not the same sharp I have had. It breaks my heart. Are you using GMO'S now in your process? It is not good cheese now. Im very hurt and disappointed. What's going on. Everyone in my family has noticed it. Thank you for listening. Joy Martin of Everett WA.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Getting What You Pay For

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Chris Maples, president of the Oregon Institute of Technology.


Read more...

Light Reading

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Ask any college student: Textbook prices have skyrocketed out of control. Online education startup Lumen Learning aims to bring them down to earth.


Read more...

Living the dream

News
Friday, August 21, 2015

smugglespearsthumbRenee Spears, founder and owner of Portland-based Rose City Mortgage, is hot to trot to sell pot.


Read more...

The Cover Story

Linda Baker
Thursday, August 27, 2015
01-cover-0915-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

How do you put a baby on the cover of a business magazine without it looking too cutesy?


Read more...

Quake as metaphor

Linda Baker
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
071515-earthquakia-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Big One serves as an allegory for Portland, a city that earns plaudits for lifestyle and amenities but whose infrastructure is, literally, crumbling.


Read more...

Fueling Up for the Climb

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS

Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.


Read more...

Bendafornia: What’s driving the Northern California migration?

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
bendiforniathumbBY KEN MAES

A huge migration from Northern California has contributed to average 16% growth per year since 1990.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS