An Oregon-based, top-shelf ice cream company has acquired a former Prairie Farms plant with plans to expand in the Midwest and East. Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) announced plans to open an ice cream manufacturing facility in Decatur, Ill., in late 2024. The Decatur facility will be TCCA’s first owned and operated manufacturing facility outside of Oregon and will be TCCA’s only facility solely dedicated to ice cream production. TCCA also owns and operates two manufacturing facilities in Oregon that are primarily dedicated to cheese production.
The farmer-owned company plans to invest $50 million into the Illinois plant and shares it expects to hire around 45 full-time positions. The Decatur ice cream plant will manufacture Tillamook family-size (48 oz.) and Tillamook food service (3-gallon) ice cream.
“Consumer demand for Tillamook Ice Cream has grown exponentially over the past several years,” Mike Bever, TCCA executive vice president of operations, said. “This new facility is an investment in our continued national expansion plans. We are proud to be able to expand our manufacturing footprint even further as another step toward bringing Tillamook to more fans around the country.”
In 1977, Prairie Farms purchased the facility from Swift & Co., which opened it in 1917. Ice cream production began in 1950. Before that the plant was used to produce butter and processed chicken. In 2022, Prairie Farms shut down production at that plant.
Founded in 1909 by more than 110 family-owned dairy farms in Tillamook County, Ore., TCCA employs more than 900 people.
According to Bever, in the past year, Tillamook has added 1.6 million households and grown ice cream sales by nearly 60% in the eastern U.S.
“Ultimately our continued growth is a ‘win’ for who and what matters most to us. It allows us to continue to generate meaningful profits for our farmer-owners, create growth and well-being opportunities for our 900+ employees and to give back to the communities where we live and work. Now we get to welcome Decatur into that valued group,” he said.
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