We caught Rueben at his desk catching up on emails. Keep up the good work, Rueben!

Please join us in welcoming Rueben Nilsson to the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery team. Rueben joins us as our Menomonie Director of Operations. He comes to us with 15 years of cheese production experience having previously worked for Caves of Faribault-Prairie Farms Dairy and The Lone Grazer Creamery.

Rueben’s focus is on keeping the Menomonie facility running efficiently. Most of his day is spent checking on production processes and working with the plant’s department heads to address issues and head off any problems before they happen. Being a new plant, there’s a fair amount of troubleshooting that takes place each day.

“I feel like I’ve reverted to learning instead of being an expert,” says Rueben as he comments on his time working in Menomonie. “I’m working with different cheeses, equipment, and cheesemaking tools than at any of my previous jobs, which means new challenges every day. It’s been exciting.”

Another important part of Rueben’s role is forward planning. He is continually evaluating and planning for how best to increase production and add additional efficiencies all while keeping quality high. His goal is ensuring the plant is achieving its full potential and poised to meet future demand for the products made there.

“We’re thrilled to have Rueben and his years of expertise in artisan cheesemaking join us,” says Paul Bauer. “His experience will be an asset to our senior management team, and he will be a great addition to the Menomonie community.”

We’re looking forward to seeing Rueben’s continued growth and contributions in his career with ECC!

Special thanks to WEDC for this amazing photo that perfectly captures the excitement of the event.

Yep, we sure know how to throw a party alright!  In July we officially celebrated the opening of our Menomonie store. It was a 4-day celebration that did not disappoint!

John Freeman, our Director of Sales & Retail Stores, kicked off the festivities and introduced Paul Bauer, CEO who thanked the many people who played a role in making this new facility possible. Several special guests also attended to mark the momentous occasion. Among them were Mayor Randy Knaack, City of Menomonie, Secretary Missy Hughes, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and Secretary Randy Romanski, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. Each shared what the facility meant to their organizations. If you missed attending the ceremony, you can view it here.

The Menomonie Area Chamber of Commerce then officially welcomed us to their chamber family with a ribbon cutting—confetti cannons and all! Everyone in attendance took part. How exciting! You can relive the ribbon cutting here.

We then welcomed everyone into the store for tastings and shopping, which continued throughout the weekend. People came from across the region to celebrate with us and our staff was busy helping customers and stocking inventory throughout the event. The viewing windows were particularly busy as guests watch and commented on the cheesemaking process taking place there.

Guesses for how many people joined us throughout the entire event vary widely. At times lines to the checkouts extended way into the store! However, we can report that during the event we processed over 1,400 transactions (of course our actual guest count is much more as most people came as families and in groups). We sold nearly 600 pizzas, over 100 boats of fried cheese curds, over 200 single scoop cones, and almost 700 pounds of our world-famous Natural cheese curds! All in one weekend–Wowza!

If you’ve yet to visit our new store, we invite you to plan a road trip! Be sure to introduce yourselves to the staff when you do.

Our entire team wishes to thank you for your support of this important initiative. You’ve made an important contribution to our industry and left a lasting legacy to the next generation of farmer owners and cheesemakers.