PAOLI, Wis. (WMTV) -Construction is underway on a new, $10 million renovation project along a 7.5 acre section of the Sugar River in downtown Paoli. Crews are busy converting an old cheese factory built in 1888 into a tourism hotspot.
“This building is a treasure,” said Nic Mink.
Mink and his wife Danika purchased the building back in the fall of 2021. “Our goal was to be able to restore this building — preserve this building — so it can have another 100 years,”
Workers move massive wheels of cheese at the old Paoli Dairy Cooperative(Nic Minc)
For nearly 100 years, the Paoli Dairy Cooperative made cheese in the building.
A look at the future plans for a restaurant and cafe(Nic Minc)
“We want people to be sitting here and drinking beers and drinking cocktails and enjoying ice cream and enjoying a meal overlooking the Sugar River,” said Mink.
While the plans call for a total overhaul of the property, Mink is also trying to preserve the cheesy history. It’s a space that has sentimental value to many people in the community.
“The thing that made the biggest difference to me and wife is when we talked to local people and they’d say ‘my grandpa delivered milk to this creamery’ or ‘I mowed the lawn at this creamery,” said Mink.
To honor the past, Mink is bringing in Landmark Creamery to operate a micro-plant out of the building. They will make and sell butter and ice cream.
“Everyone is really excited. It’s going to bring regional, if not national recognition,” said Anna Thomas Bates, owner of Landmark Creamery.
Landmark is located just down the street and is in the process of expanding their headquarters as well. Thomas Bates says Paoli is taking things to the next level to keep people coming back
“You get that small town feel, you get a lot of history, and there is so much going on. You can easily spend a whole day here and have a wonderful time,” she said.
“We just love the community of Paoli,” said the 42-year-old Mink. He and Danika have two daughters and another baby on the way. “I mean it’s so unique that you have this 1870s, 1880s like small town Wisconsin village that is still largely been preserved,”
Right now, the project is in the early stages of demolition and construction. Mink says he’s hoping to have Seven Acre open by Thanksgiving of 2022.