The Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) has announced that it will undertake a significant project in the coming years to completely redesign and rebuild the Visitors Center at the Tillamook Cheese Factory, the most popular tourist destination on the Oregon Coast.
Designed by Olson Kundig, TCCA leadership says the new Visitors Center at the company’s headquarters in Tillamook will offer a significantly enhanced experience for visitors. “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,” said TCCA President and CEO Patrick Criteser. “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 at the Tillamook Cheese Factory will be demolished. In its place a brand new 38,500 square-foot facility that reflects Tillamook as a world-class dairy brand will be built. The number of visitors who visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory has grown significantly over the years. Currently, more than 1.3 million people visit each year—as many as 10,000 per day. The new Visitors Center will comprise of a larger space to enable TCCA to better accommodate their growing number of guests and welcome even more visitors, providing the most comfortable, enjoyable experience possible.
Olson Kundig worked closely with TCCA to redesign the entire visitor experience to create an environmental extension of the Tillamook brand—from the moment visitors arrive on site, to the moment they leave. The building was inspired by architecture associated with modern farming and the working dairy structures used by many of the nearly one hundred farm families that comprise the Tillamook co-op. TCCA and Olson Kundig are also designing the factory tour experience and adding new interpretive exhibits that tell the over one hundred year history of the factory, its workers, the process of cheese making, the farmer collective that owns the cooperative, and the milk that makes the Tillamook products.
Some of the more significant features of the new Visitors Center will include: • A larger café with more indoor seating and a spacious outdoor covered patio for visitors to enjoy year-round. • A new café menu, showcasing Tillamook products and other high quality, wholesome real food ingredients, including wood fire pizzas, Tillamook’s favorite 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. • An enhanced retail area that showcases the many quality products and gifts available for purchase all in one, easy-to-shop area. • An enhanced visitor viewing experience of Tillamook’s cheese make 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 & Development (R&D) and Sensory work space where the Tillamook team will be able to facilitate focus groups to seek visitor feedback on new products and flavors. • A small private event room (20-30 person capacity) that can be rented by the public for small business or celebratory functions. There will also be opportunities for the public to rent part or all of the facility after business hours for special events like weddings, reunions, etc. • Improved parking which will make it easier for visitors to get in and out of the Visitors Center.
“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,” said TCCA’s Director of Guest Experience Peter Papp. “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.”
“It’s a deep honor to be trusted by the farmers of the Tillamook Cooperative to design their new Visitor Center. We could not be more excited to be part of their future,” said Tom Kundig, Design Lead/Principal.
Given the extensive nature of the rebuild project, the existing Visitors Center at the Tillamook Cheese Factory will close completely starting in the spring of 2017 and until the new Visitors Center is complete in the summer of 2018. However, during this time, TCCA plans to open a temporary Visitors Center experience on an adjacent section their property to provide visiting guests a great Tillamook experience during the interim.
The temporary Visitors Center will include a café, ice cream counter and retail area, as well as a unique experience that will allow TCCA to share with visitors a more in-depth look at dairy farming in Tillamook County. TCCA plans to share more information about programming at the temporary Visitors Center as well as updates about the overall project throughout the coming months. Visitors are encouraged to check the company’s website at Tillamook.com for updates on the project.