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Yogurt distribution center improves Wisconsin's business culture

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They don't call Wisconsin "America's Dairyland" for nothing.

While the country's thirst for milk is on the decline, the growing appetite for yogurt is boosting business in the Wisconsin community of Richland Center. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that dairy company Schreiber Foods will begin construction of a 33,000 square foot yogurt distribution center there later this month. It will allow for increased production and shipping from the site. Company leaders plan to break ground by mid-April and complete construction in the fall.

The story noted that Schreiber Foods, based in Green Bay, already operates a pair of yogurt plants in Richland Center and recently made a major investment to expand, automate and update the facilities there.

“If you look at the country, yogurt is growing a lot,” said manager Joe Steinocher. “In the last five years or so, we’ve spent over $100 million on these two facilities. So we’re trying to keep up with it.”

Last December, Forbes magazine listed Schreiber Foods, with an international workforce of around 7,000, as 88th on its list of America's largest privately held companies. It called Schreiber Foods "...the world's largest customer-brand dairy company. The company provides cheese, yogurt and private-label products to fast food operations, grocery chains and wholesalers" and added that the company distributes products produced in its 35 plants in the U.S., Germany, Mexico, India and Brazil. McDonald’s and Wal-Mart are clients for the more than 575 types of cheese and other dairy products it develops, manufactures and distributes under brand names of its customers rather than its own.

Schreiber entered the yogurt market in Richland Center in 2005. The company employs about 400 in its Richland Center operations. About 20 workers have been hired for the plants since the beginning of this year, with 20 other jobs still open and another 10 to 15 positions expected to be added after the distribution center is finished in the fall.

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