|Aug 20, 2013 --
Outline Of Need:
The Bandon Cheese & Produce Factory was founded in 1927 in Coos County, Oregon. Seventy-three years later, the business was sold. The new owners decided to close the factory three years later, followed by the shuttering and demolition of the retail store in 2005, leaving the eyesore of an empty gravel lot at the entrance of this small coastal community.
In 2011, at the urging of contractor and entrepreneur Daniel Graham, the City of Bandon purchased the empty lot. Along with investor Greg Drobot, Graham then drew up plans for a new cheese factory, which they named Face Rock Creamery for the city’s legendary rock formation.
How Rural Development Helped:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development, through its Intermediary Relending Program (IRP), provides seed capital to revolving loan funds operated by qualified non-profits and public bodies. Known as intermediaries, these lenders in turn finance small and emerging businesses and community development projects in rural areas.
The Port of Bandon Economic Development Fund, one of 14 intermediary lenders in Oregon, received a $1 million IRP loan from Rural Development in 1995 and a $500,000 IRP loan in 2000. For this project, they lent $250,000 to Face Rock Creamery as part of a financing package for construction, the purchase of equipment, and working capital. With funding sources lined up for the project, the City of Bandon then agreed to develop the property and serve as the landlord.
Face Rock Creamery opened in May 2013, and it is thriving. On a mid-week afternoon in July, a long line snakes out the door.
“It’s been more successful early on than I expected,” said owner Greg Drobot.
A dairy located in Coquille supplies their factory. The cows are milked daily at 4:00 a.m., and the cheese production begins just two hours later. The factory was built to accommodate rapid growth, but its storage space is already expected to be filled to capacity by the end of the year.
The new creamery generates a lot of tourism for this small, rural community, especially in the summer, increasing traffic through many local businesses and improving the town’s economy. In the winter, when the volume of visitors dies down, the factory will continue to bustle, crafting cheeses for wholesale markets.
The new creamery has restored the tradition of cheese making that began in the late 1800s to this southern Oregon town, making it a destination for tourists, increasing its economic prosperity with 15 new full-time jobs, and serving as a point of pride for the community.
Program: Intermediary Relending Program
Investment: $250,000 loan through the Port of Bandon Economic Development Fund, a USDA IRP lender
• Loan Recipient: $424,500
• Craft3: $981,000
• Business Oregon, Oregon Business Development Fund: $256,000
• Line of Credit: $250,000
Partners: City of Bandon
• Created 15 full-time jobs.
• Revitalized historic industry.
• Improved local economy through an increase in tourism.