Most owners heading into the holidays wouldn’t dare “hit the road” to go help someone else’s business get off the ground. But when you are a Musser, it’s in your DNA.
Rufus III, my dad and co-CEO, has been working with a few cheesemaking groups around the country, typically in the Amish and Mennonite community. They are usually people who are either just starting out or learning very quickly that this is a tough business to succeed at.
After seeing Rufus travel back and forth to support a team in Kentucky, I decided to jump in and help from an operations perspective.
While it wouldn’t be my first choice on how to spend a long weekend with my wife on the road, driving to and from Kentucky, I’m often reminded that without the help of others who have more expertise than we did when we got started, we wouldn’t be who we are today. Helping fellow cheesemakers is so important to us and I knew I’d have some expertise to offer when it came to this specific group.
The group in Kentucky has been making cheese for the past 11 months, sourcing their milk from the local community and unfortunately not turning a profit yet. They’ve made a lot of great decisions but are in a challenging spot when it comes to investments, cash flow, their facility layout and needs for a sustainable business.
Over a couple days we toured the facility, built a cash flow and offered advice on renovations. I personally may not hold official degrees that others do, but my nearly 10 years at Milton Creamery have shown me what it takes to create a viable, thriving cheesemaking business. It was a good trip overall and I’m happy to provide insight when I can. We are all in this together.
Back at the Creamery, in the last 3 weeks we’ve hired 5 new employees. We now have 31 people on staff! It’s really an exciting time to be a part of our production and packaging team as we continue to produce more and more cheese.
In Southeast Iowa, fall harvest is now complete and I’m pretty sure this is the last warm day we’ll have for awhile, so enjoy.