By Charles Collier, The Denmark News
NEW DENMARK—BelGioioso Cheese officially announced the opening of its new 100,000 square-foot cheese plant in New Denmark, which is expected to add 50 jobs to the area when it becomes fully operational next month.
Directly across CTH NN from the Glenmore facility, the New Denmark plant will produce the company’s Fresh Mozzarella in its various forms; from two-pound logs to bite size pearls. Much of the new product will be nationally distributed by retail superpower Walmart.
“It’s so exciting to see this remarkable facility that is making such a difference in this community and the entire Green Bay region,” said Lisa Nelson, a Walmart spokesperson.
Nelson said the expanded production is part of the retailer’s ten-year initiative to invest $450 billion in American-made goods by 2023. Other Wisconsin companies like Sargento in southeastern Wisconsin and Rayovac Batteries in Fennimore have already benefitted from the investment.
The cheesemaker’s craftwork is no stranger to Walmart’s dairy section, though.
“We began working [with Walmart] over 15 years ago selling just three cheese varieties: our Parmesan, Asiago and Fresh Mozzarella,” Gaetano said, adding that today over one dozen of the company’s cheese varieties are distributed nationally.
Local architects and construction companies, like Miller Masonry of Little Chute and Schuh Construction of Seymour, were involved in the nearly year-long construction of the facility which will process two million pounds of milk—between 20,000 and 25,000 cows’ worth—daily from farms within a thirty-mile radius.
“It’s not just the jobs here [at the plant,]” Nelson said. “It’s the farmers they’re supporting, it’s the family jobs and the families that are here, work here, live here, and are spending their money here.”
Gaetano’s father, Errico Aurrichio, first came to Denmark in 1979 producing but one cheese: Mild Provolone. Aurrichio was the first in the area to offer premiums to farmers for quality milk and within ten years the company had opened a new plant in Pulaski, employing about 50 people by 1991.
Edo La Torre will be managing the New Denmark plant and considers his story emblematic of the American Dream. La Torre first came to BelGioioso in 2009 following his former California employer closing its doors during the Great Recession.
“I moved here and I was hired in the accounting department,” La Torre, an Italian native with a degree in International Finance said. “Shortly after, I was given the opportunity to work in operation, to improve what then was the new facility in Freedom.”