Chapel Hill Creamery has been in operation since 2001. The creamery began milking 9 cows and making 3 cheeses, and grew steadily from 9 cows to 30, until July of 2016 when the Creamery was linked to an outbreak of salmonella. After a voluntary recall of all cheeses, Creamery owners Florence Hawley and Portia McKnight worked with Liz Morris of the SBTDC as well as with several food safety experts from NCSU to recover from the devastating recall and resume operations.
With the help of the SBTDC, grant and loan money was found to help fund some physical plant improvements, and rethink production to achieve a more streamlined operation. The Creamery business plan was developed, reviewed, and put in place. The SBTDC provided a great deal of one-on-one counseling in areas from marketing to computer assistance to fund raising. Liz was particularly helpful in encouraging networking opportunities with local government staff as well as industry contacts. The NXLEVEL business class was another opportunity provided by the SBTDC for learning and networking.
After 7 months out of production, the Creamery was able to rehire 8 of the 9 former employees, and began production of cheese once again. Customers of Chapel Hill Creamery have responded enthusiastically to the reopening, and are excited to have the cheese back in the market, and are also happy to know that the Creamery will once again be hosting farm tours so that they can come visit our staff but more importantly the cows and pigs on this lovely farmland just outside Chapel Hill.