The producer of organic retail and foodservice dairy products on Dec. 14 signed a five-year lease for 30,000 square feet of warehouse and office space at 1105 Industrial Ave. in Petaluma.
“Being closer to the 101 corridor makes it safer for trucks to visit us, and employees can commute a shorter distance,” said Brie Johnson, communications and sustainability manager.
Of the 70 creamery employees, about 20 in the office will move in the first half of January, followed by cold and dry storage operations and staff in February. The company’s certified organic milk, butter, yogurt and ice cream will continue be produced in Marshall but will be trucked to Petaluma for distribution.
The Straus family established the dairy farm in 1941, converted the operation to a certified organic production in 1993 and a year later opened the creamery.
Over the years the line of products has expanded from glass-bottled milk to butter, yogurt and ice cream, sourced not only from the 500-acre Straus farm but also from adjacent ones: the 2,100-acre, 900-cow Tresch dairy and the 182-acre, 100-cow Hughes dairy.
A few years ago foodservice packaging for ice cream was added, followed by frozen yogurt last year.
Sales growth has continued, though tempered somewhat by some consumer wallet-watching on purchases of premium products.
“We have a pretty loyal customer base,” Ms. Johnson said. “Sales have not been as much as in previous years, but it is modest and positive growth.”
The Straus lease is part of 411,000 square feet of potential industrial real estate deals for Petaluma soon, with at least 100,000 square feet of that from companies new to the submarket, according to NAI BT Commercial’s Trevor Buck, who represented Straus. Steve Easley of NAI BT handled the lease for the building owners.
Partly driving this decision-making is interest in consolidating facilities in Sonoma County to save money and be closer to connections with markets outside the North Bay, such as Interstate 80 via Highway 37, according to Mr. Buck.
Industrial leasing activity, if the trend continues, could also be an early sign of economic recovery, he added. More products sold can mean companies need more room to store raw materials or products awaiting shipment.
“If the economy is improving, we will see it on the warehouse side,” Mr. Buck said.
For details on Straus, call 415-663-5464 or visit www.strausfamilycreamery.com.
Correction, Sept. 23, 2014: Straus Family Creamery’s ranch is 500 acres. Another 166 adjoining acres belongs to other family members.
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