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Award-winning company’s goal is to be under one roof

Mt. Townsend Creamery: On the move, still in PT

Award-winning Mt. Townsend Creamery is planning to consolidate its three spaces in Port Townsend into a single new 16,000-square-foot creamery, warehouse and retail space. The facility is to be located on the Howard Street corridor on acreage west of the Port Townsend Business Park.

“It will be wonderful to have everything and everybody under one roof,” said Nik Lance, the creamery’s chief financial officer and a co-owner of the creamery.

“It’s a really big deal for us. What we are trying to do is put a stake in the ground here. We have younger people, all owners,” Lance said. “But we’re not doing this purely out of altruism. We think there’s tremendous things going on here. We need to create opportunities for people. We’ll come out ahead, and we think the community does, too.”

The creamery’s expansion plans, expected to cost between $2 million and $2.5 million, dovetails with plans to extend Howard Street and connect it to Discovery Road. That $6.4 million street project, being developed by the City of Port Townsend, is now under way. The city anticipates the use of both state and federal grants for the project.

Howard Street is scheduled for improvements in 2015; the creamery’s new facility is expected to be open for production in the first half of 2016, Lance said.

The creamery recently bought two lots next to one another along the front of the new Howard Street extension and has already begun architectural and engineering design work.

“We’re trying to keep it as local as we can,” Lance said on Monday. He expects to announce the facility’s architect soon. He acknowledged that some speciality help may also be needed in the design.

Since Mt. Townsend started making cheese eight years ago, the company’s success has forced a rapid expansion beyond the original creamery, which is on Sherman Street, just off Sims Way.

The creamery operates in four buildings in two locations, with its warehouse and cold storage facility in Glen Cove, two miles from its production facility in Port Townsend.

“We’ve reached some hard limits in our production capacity,” said Ryan Trail, operations manager and co-owner.

The new 16,000-square-foot facility will be designed and built for making cheese, which Lance and Trail say requires tightly controlled moisture and temperature during production and aging.

The building also will be designed to be inviting and educational for visitors, and is to include strategically placed windows to allow the public to observe cheese makers at work and watch the cheese as it progresses through the aging process.

The move within Port Townsend comes after an effort to relocate the creamery to the old Brown Farm in Chimacum proved unsuccessful.

“Many people devoted substantial time and resources toward finding a path forward, and for that, we are grateful. However, earlier this year, it became clear that [the Brown Farm] location would not be financially viable,” Lance said.

The creamery currently employs 24 people. Once the new creamery is built, it could employ as many as 40, Lance said, adding that even more employees could be hired in the future.

Earlier this year, Lance said that Mt. Townsend was honored at a world cheese championship with a second-place title.

“We’ve worked very hard on our Off Kilter [cheese], and in the World Championships, we placed second, so we’re feeling pretty sassy about that,” he said.

The creamery’s tasting room, located at 338 Sherman St., is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Wednesday-Friday, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday.