Herald Journal Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, April 8, 2002

DairiConcepts' production line to roll again

By Ryan Gueningsman

After a nearly two-year standstill, DairiConcepts production line in Winsted will once again be in full swing.

"What it all boils down to is we're gearing up for a new production line for making a wet cheese blend," DairiConcepts Production Supervisor Dawn Raymond said.

This new production line will begin operation sometime within the next 30 days.

"Right now, we are still going through the processes of safety training, being audited, and getting the facility approved," Raymond said.

New employees have also been hired ­ bringing the total number now to 15. There is a potential for more jobs in the future. However, that is a part of long-term planning, he said.

With the new process being a wet blend, this means the odors and noise associated with the creamery in the past should no longer be an issue.

"We won't be utilizing the dryer at all, so there will be no noise or sound problems that we can foresee," said Raymond. "That was the demise of our dryer, basically, so now we're going towards a different process to alleviate those problems."

Throughout the winter, DairiConcepts has been using its cooler capacity, storing about six million pounds of cheese

"We have a store and hold program, in which we hold cheese and ship cheese to other locations," Raymond said.

Right now, DairiConcepts is focused on the future.

"We're very excited to get something back in the building, we've been idle for so long. We're just excited to get something that will make a positive impact on the community ­ we're just glad to be running again," Raymond said. "We certainly don't ever want to be idle again."

City Administrator Brent Mareck said that, as far as he knew, nothing had been going on at DairiConcepts, but was looking forward to something happening soon.

"As far as I know, nothing is going on there," Mareck said. "I'd like to see something there ­ it's one of the nicer pieces of property in town, right by the lake."

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