The Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) will undertake a significant project over the next two years that will completely redesign and rebuild the visitors center at the Tillamook Cheese Factory.

Designed by Seattle-based architecture firm Olson Kundig, the visitors center is situated at the company’s headquarters in Tillamook, Ore.

“This new facility will provide us with an opportunity to bring to life TCCA’s story in a much more compelling way, from our vital history as a farmer-owned co-op to our modern-day commitment to Dairy Done Right,” says Patrick Criteser, president and CEO. “This project represents a significant investment in our local presence here in Tillamook County, and one that we anticipate will attract even more visitors to our area.”

Through this project, the existing visitors center facility will be torn down, and built in its place will be a new 38,500-square-foot facility, designed to better accommodate the dairy company’s growing number of guests.

Significant features will include:

• A larger café with more indoor seating and a spacious covered outdoor patio.

• A new café menu, showcasing Tillamook products and other high-quality, wholesome real ingredients, including wood fire pizzas, Tillamook’s grilled cheese sandwiches and more. The new café menu will also feature wine and beer from the Pacific Northwest.

• An enhanced Tillamook ice cream counter, available for indoor and seasonal outdoor service.

• A new coffee counter where visitors can purchase a variety of coffee and espresso drinks.

• An enhanced retail area that showcases the many quality products and gifts available for purchase.

• An enhanced visitor viewing experience of Tillamook’s cheesemaking and packaging operations with better acoustics and exhibit signage, as well as a small theater space where visitors can view short videos about TCCA and how Tillamook products are made.

• An interactive research and development and sensory work space where the Tillamook team will facilitate focus groups to seek visitor feedback on new products and flavors.

• A small private event room (20- to 30-person capacity) that can be rented by the public for small business or celebratory functions or special events like weddings, reunions, etc.

• Improved parking that will make it easier for visitors to get in and out.

“The new facility will also provide much-needed upgrades to several ‘back of house’ areas that are not necessarily visible to visitors, but are critical to the operation running smoothly and efficiently and to providing a quality work experience for our employees as well,” says Peter Papp, director of guest experience. “We expect that having increased space for our operations and staff at the new facility will dramatically increase the speed of service for our guests.”

The existing visitors center will close completely in the spring of 2017, with the new center scheduled for completion in the summer of 2018. A temporary visitors center will be open on an adjacent section to provide guests the Tillamook experience during the interim. The temporary facility will include dining options, a Tillamook ice cream counter and retail area and a more in-depth look at dairy farming in Tillamook County.