A Maquoketa creamery now under construction will receive a financial boost from a county loan program.
The Jackson County Board of Supervisors approved a $100,000 loan from the county’s Revolving Loan Fund to Moore Family Farm Creamery, which will be located at 605 Birch Drive in Maquoketa.
Moore Family Farm Creamery initially applied for a $150,000 loan from the fund. Money from that fund typically is loaned to businesses as an incentive to move to the county or to expand operations and employ more people.
The money will be used to purchase machinery for the new creamery, which will be owned and operated by Heather and Brandon Moore. The Moores currently ship their milk to Wisconsin to have it made into cheese. They want to bring that business here and do the work locally, they’ve said.
Under the terms of the agreement, the loan will be paid back — with interest — in seven years. The county will advance the loan funds to the Moores once they are billed for the new equipment.
According to the Moores’ application, the creamery would add at least five new jobs to the local employment pool.
The overall Birch Drive project also includes expansion of the Moore Local retail store as well as construction of Rockdale Locker, which is under the operation of Chad and Kim Thompson. The Moores and the Thompsons have formed a limited-liability company called Rockdale Enterprises.
Moore Local will include an expanded and locally sourced grocery and gift retail store. It also will feature a creamery where the Moores will churn their locally produced milk into cheddar cheese.
Rockdale Locker will handle a 1,200-head beef equivalency of livestock, including beef, pigs, sheep and goats. The livestock will be processed and packaged to order.
Rockdale Lockers expects to add about seven jobs to the area.
The overall project comes with an estimated $2.3 million price tag.
Rockdale Enterprises has applied for various grants and other loans to make their businesses a reality.
Heather Moore said she also applied for a $50,000 grant to help pay for creamery equipment.
The city of Maquoketa signed a development agreement with Rockdale Enterprises in which the company agrees to make about $2 million in improvements to the property. The city will provide a 50% tax increment rebate for up to 10 years or a maximum total rebate of $150,000 — whichever comes first.
Rockdale Enterprises also received an $805,000 loan from East Central Intergovernmental Association Business Growth, Inc. for the project.
“It’s a great addition to Maquoketa, of course, and to the community,” said Supervisor Mike Steines, adding that he likes bringing more jobs to the county.
The retail store is now open for regular hours Monday through Saturday.
Moore expected the creamery and locker to be open within the next 12 weeks or so dependent on when all the needed equipment arrives and is installed.