Bandon cheese is back

$2 million investment will employ at least 10 people
2012-05-17T11:00:00Z 2012-05-18T13:43:46Z Bandon cheese is backBy Amy Moss Strong, The World Coos Bay World
May 17, 2012 11:00 am  • 

BANDON -- It's a moment of redemption for many in Bandon, including city officials, who have mourned the loss of the cheese factory since it closed several years ago.

Hand-cheddared two-pound loaves of sharp, medium and mild cheese, cheese curds and five to seven types of specialty cheeses will once again be made in Bandon, possibly as soon as next February.

At a special meeting last week, the City Council approved the terms of a lease with a developer who plans to build a new cheese factory at the site of the former Bandon Cheese Factory.

Cheese samples, including the ever-popular 'squeaky cheese," ice cream, wine and gifts also will all be available at the 6,000-square-foot facility.

The only thing that it won't have is the name 'Bandon."

But Face Rock Creamery LLC owner Greg Drobot is excited about the new venture and hopes to begin construction as early as June, he said the meeting. He plans to put at least $2 million into the project.

Drobot, son of Michael Drobot, who built The Colony condominiums on Beach Loop Drive at the site of the former Ocean View Care Center, has hired the consulting expertise of Joe Sinko, former owner of the Bandon Cheese Factory and an expert cheesemaker, for advice on how to set up the new factory, down to the types of cheese to make. Drobot said Sinko will consult during the entire building process until the factory is up and running, probably about a year.

A master cheesemaker has not yet been hired, but Drobot said he is negotiating with a few prospects.

Sinko's son, Brad Sinko, is head cheesemaker at Beecher's Handmade Cheese in Seattle's Pike Place Market. Brad Sinko also recently set up a new Beecher's factory in Manhattan, New York. Drobot said Brad Sinko will not be the new cheesemaker, but declined comment when asked if that person might be someone else from Beecher's.

Drobot said the cheese will be made using the hand-cheddaring process that was a selling point at the former factory. The process will use pasteurized milk from cows that have not been treated with BST, a common bovine hormone. The milk will come from dairies in the Coquille Valley, he said.

Drobot anticipates the new factory will employ at least 10 people, mostly full-time positions, in addition to construction employment. He hopes even more jobs will eventually be created by the venture.

Face Rock Creamery will utilize its own funds and private financing to construct and operate the cheese factory.

Under the terms of the lease, the rent will be waived by the city for Face Rock Creamery for 20 years. In lieu of rent, the tenant will pay 1 percent of any gross revenues between $1 million and $2.5 million and 2 percent of any gross revenues more than $2.5 million.

The business also will pay the city $40 per month based on an approximate 400-square-foot portion that represents the area the facility will use to feature non-cheese items. City Manager Matt Winkel said that amount was set to make the agreement fair to other businesses who sell similar gift merchandise.

In addition, the cheese factory will be responsible for cleaning, maintaining and furnishing supplies for the adjacent public restrooms which, along with a pubic parking lot, will be constructed with Bandon urban renewal funds.

In August 2011, the Bandon urban renewal agency paid Tillamook Cheese $500,000 for the two acres of property where the Bandon cheese factory was formerly located. The property had been purchased by Tillamook Cheese from Bandon Cheese in 2000.

The cheese factory was closed in 2002, although Tillamook Cheese continued to operate a retail store at that location until 2005, when it was also closed and the remaining employees laid off. The buildings on the property fell into a poor state of repair, and they were subsequently demolished.

'The city is very excited about the prospect of again having a cheese factory in Bandon, and feels this project is a perfect example of the ideal public-private partnership," Winkel said.

The project involves public financing of the public facilities, such as the public parking lot and public restrooms, and private financing of the construction, operation and maintenance costs of the cheese factory.

'It will result in more public parking, restrooms for tourist visitors, additional tourist attractions to benefit existing local businesses, additional private sector job opportunities for local residents, an inducement for other manufacturing businesses to locate and create jobs in this area, increased City revenues and reduced cost for Bandon taxpayers," Winkel said.

Now that the new cheese factory project is moving forward, private developers have contacted the city regarding the possibilities of constructing a brewery and developing other manufacturing and retail businesses on that property, Winkel added.

'This is something that we have all been waiting for since Tillamook purchased, closed down, and then tore down our cheese factory, which was the No. 1 tourist attraction in the community," said Mayor Mary Schamehorn. 'This is definitely a win-win for Bandon."

Copyright 2015 Coos Bay World. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(18) Comments

  1. Rob Taylor
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    Rob Taylor - May 24, 2012 8:16 pm
    Anarchist said: "Is there anything this guy will not whine about?Geez dude, you never have a positive bit to say about anything

    Someone has to be the adult and say "NO". Enough is enough. A cheese factory would be fine, but not at the cost to taxpayers. Of course now everyone, including you, can have some government cheese with their whine....
  2. The Brutal Truth
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    The Brutal Truth - May 24, 2012 12:13 pm
    Excellent news. Good for Bandon.
  3. Polar Bear
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    Polar Bear - May 23, 2012 10:15 am
    Too bad Coos Bay and North Bend don't have something like this to make people stop.
  4. Polar Bear
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    Polar Bear - May 23, 2012 10:14 am
    I think this is a wonderful thing. It will make people stop as it is on the main highway and will only do good for Bandon. Any business like this on the main highway will work.
  5. scott333
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    scott333 - May 23, 2012 9:58 am
    Eastsider.I'm not sure if you or anyone else knows this but Tillamook Chhese didn't just purchase Bandon Cheese and shut it down soon after.I can remember back around 15 to 20 years ago I delivered and picked up things from Bandon Cheese and back then the products I delivered and dropped off had the name Tillamook Cheese on them so Tillamook had something to do with them way back then.A lot of the cheese wrappers said Tillamook so it seems they made cheese here and called it Tillamook cheese.
  6. Anarchist
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    Anarchist - May 23, 2012 9:46 am
    Rob Taylor said: "Oh well, our children will get the bill for our debt, so who cares, lets spend it all......."

    Is there anything this guy will not whine about?

    Geez dude, you never have a positive bit to say about anything.
    Only ten jobs? Well, that sucks.
    New business in Bandon? Tha sucks too!

    Dude, move if you don't like living here, you surely do not seem happy.

  7. longdriveway
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    longdriveway - May 23, 2012 9:40 am
    I hope this new cheese factory pays their employees a bit more of a decent wage than the previous one. It was pretty pathetic before.
  8. ozragreen
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    ozragreen - May 21, 2012 8:30 am
    For anyone who's had the pleasure of trying Beecher's cheese at Pike Place, you know this is going to be an amazing endeavor! It seems a waste of time to parse numbers here. At the end of the day, new, local business and jobs are being created. Bandon's economy will benefit with locals and visitors stopping in and then spending at other businesses as well. National attention will be drawn to the southern Oregon coast and its farmers because of this. I don't see any way to lose here!
  9. Rob Taylor
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    Rob Taylor - May 20, 2012 12:14 am
    Does anyone want to bet on the statement by Winkel that this development will generate enough revenue that it will reduce the cost to Bandon taxpayers? Does anyone really believe his bulls**t?
    And, the cheese will never have the name Bandon, because Tillamook owns the name for their product.

    Oh well, our children will get the bill for our debt, so who cares, lets spend it all.......
  10. Rob Taylor
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    Rob Taylor - May 20, 2012 12:09 am
    Notice the Bandon Manager and Mayor emphasizes the speculative positives, but nobody, including the objective writer of the story, mentions the possible negatives of this boondoggle, if it goes wrong. And, when the city was pushing this development and trying to get concurrences from the other taxing districts to increase the debt of their Urban Renewal Agency, they were telling the members on the board of those districts that this project would create 22 new jobs. Now it is only 10 jobs
  11. Local Jerk
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    Local Jerk - May 18, 2012 7:40 pm
    I go to the store and see Tillamook cheese right next to "Bandon" cheese in the case. The Bandon is a dollar cheaper than the tillamook. Yesterday I paid $4.98 for a 2 lb. Bandon Medium cheddar. The Tillamook is $5.96. AND the "BANDON" is in in the original "BANDON" wrapper. I shop at WINCO a lot. It would appear that Tillamook "owns" the name "BANDON"in "Bandon Cheese".
  12. ShallowAl
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    ShallowAl - May 17, 2012 6:48 pm
    Can't wait! If their prices are anything like the other merchants in Bandon nobody will be able to buy it anyway.
  13. Becky
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    Becky - May 17, 2012 3:46 pm
    We have greived over losing the Cheese Factory. We always took visitors there, and took ourselves there too!
    What a wonderful thing...... to have our cheese factory here again! It was a highlight to our coast here.

    Can't wait!
  14. Ebbers
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    Ebbers - May 17, 2012 3:35 pm
    I still remember how floored I was when Tillamook closed the old factory down, and never bought their cheese after that either.

    This is WONDERFUL news. I'm so excited it's coming back to the area. Kudos to all involved in making it happen. Can't wait to check it out :)
  15. DHCollins
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    DHCollins - May 17, 2012 1:58 pm
    This is good news. But you REALLY need to figure out a way to put the Bandon name on it somehow. x
    Report Abuse
    BANDONMAN - May 17, 2012 1:29 pm
    Before you and all the others start jumping all over this lease Note the Cheese factory has agreed to maintain the restrooms the City is building and supply all of the materials. Currently The Port of Bandon spends over $28,000 per year to maintain the restrooms on the Port property. The
  17. Eastsider
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    Eastsider - May 17, 2012 11:38 am
    A most excellent arrangement. Kudos to Face Rock. For many years I enjoyed taking the family to Bandon Cheese. Now I can look forward to taking my grandkids. Dear Tillimook Cheese, you were not a good neighbor. I have not bought a single Tillimook Cheese product since you bought out and shut down Bandon Cheese. Only money-grubbing, evil scum would have ever done such a thing. Up yours!
  18. IWanttoknow
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    IWanttoknow - May 17, 2012 11:29 am
    I'm want to make sure I'm reading this correct: A percentage of 'GROSS' that is hard to believe! Even the US and State Governments allow deductions from 'GROSS'! (Except State measures 66/67 where you pay a minimum of $150 regardless of profit! In some cases) Also, 20 year lease most lending organization's go to 15 years on Commerical Properties. Last but very important: Will there be 'Ice Cream' like Bandon Cheese Had!! Joe Sinko makes this deal smell better, in my opinion....Geno Landrum
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