A new shop will be opening up in the old Kalona Cheese digs. The Kalona Creamery Shop and Deli, located on Highway 1 outside of Kalona, will open its doors on Jan. 19, with a grand opening event planned for Saturday, Feb. 4.
The shop and deli will feature fresh soups, salads and sandwiches as well as a number of Iowa-made products including cheese curds, specialty meats and cheeses, pastries and items sourced from the surrounding Kalona community.
The opening, originally scheduled for mid-December, was delayed as the building continued to be remodeled. Following the opening of the shop and deli, attention will shift to preparing the attached creamery, which will make products like cheeses and cheese curds to eventually be sold in the shop. The creamery is expected to open later in 2017.
The building was formerly occupied by the Twin County Dairy Facility known as the Kalona Cheese Factory, which was established in 1946 and began production in 1947. The factory closed its doors in September 2014 and the building was purchased by Kalona Creamery in 2015. The building has been under construction since then.
“We’re trying to maintain as much of the original building as we can,” said Sara Rissi, the marketing manager for the Open Gates Group, a group of eight Kalona companies which includes the new creamery.
For example, the “Kalona Cheese” sign on the outside of the building, which previous patrons and drivers-by may recognize, will remain in place, she said. Much of the wood from the building has been reused and the shop will feature the original exposed brick.
However, visitors will notice some improvements including a larger lobby area where people can gather for tours and larger windows in the store and lobby areas so that people can observe production in the creamery itself.
“We’re excited to finish this phase of the process and we’re so excited to be able to finally open it up,” Rissi said. “I know that it’s been missed in the community.”