Wills expects Clock Shadow Creamery, named for the nearby Allen-Bradley Clock Tower, to start making cheese in about three weeks at 538 S. 2nd St. The cheesemaking business will take up about 5,000 feet of the new four-story, 30,000-square-foot green building, which was developed by Milwaukee Fix LLC in Walker’s Point.
“Our focus is really on fresh product. People want something made in that location,” Wills said. “If you’re shipping it 300 miles, it’s not really local anymore.”
Clock Shadow will share a small part of the space with wholesale local ice cream maker Purple Door Ice Cream, since there are some synergies between the businesses, he said.
Purple Door will be making ice cream at the facility starting this week, and the storefront selling ice cream and cheese will open in about a week. It will sell Cedar Grove cheese until Clock Shadow gets up and running, Wills said.
Wills grew up in Brookfield and married into a cheesemaking family. He saw the strain on farmers on the outskirts of Milwaukee who were pressured to sell their land for development as the suburbs expanded.
Clock Shadow will source its milk from Waukesha and Walworth counties. Since farmers won’t have to ship as far, their milk will have a higher value, he said.
Wills and his wife have owned Cedar Grove Cheese in Plain since 1989. He is a master cheesemaker.
“As a manufacturer, we’re kind of in this narrow spot between a lot of farmers and a lot of consumers,” he said.
Clock Shadow will make and sell cheese curds, Hispanic style cheeses and a soft European cheese called quark. Wills also hopes to make other cheeses, like ricotta and mozzarella, on a seasonal basis.
“We’re going to rotate different cheeses into our repertoire to kind of match ethnic festivals that are going on in the community,” Wills said.
The creamery will also have tours and viewing areas, so customers at the store can see how the cheese is made.
“People have lost connection with how foods are made and the choices that go into making good foods,” Wills said.