By Jill Nagy
Argyle Cheese Farmer will quadruple its space when it moves into a building on Pruyn’s Island in Glens Falls.
Marge Randles, co-owner of the company with her husband, Dave Randles, said they had been looking, unsuccessfully, for three years for a suitable space in Washington County.
She said they expect to maintain a cheese-aging and packaging facility at the current farm location in Argyle, but most of the rest of the manufacturing operation will probably move to Glens Falls. How quickly the transition takes place will depend, in part, on whether the project is among those approved as part of the Glens Falls Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
It is among those packaged in the proposed spending plan for the $10 million grant from the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The state is currently reviewing the proposal and will decide which components get funding.
Randles said in any case her company will proceed with the first phase, relocation. The second phase, including a retail facility, will depend upon the grant approval.
The initiative committee has earmarked $125,000 for Argyle’s relocation and consider it part of a plan to make Glens Falls a center for food production.
It was difficult to locate the right site, she said. The business requires municipal water and sewer service, three-phase electric power and natural gas, as well as appropriate space. The new location is on Reed Street in the Pruyn’s Island section of the city.
“There are a lot of pieces to put together. It is a big puzzle,” Randles said. They are still working on projections. A moving-in date is not yet determined but she said they hope to move in by the end of the year.
Argyle Cheese Farmer manufactures cheese, yogurt and similar products using milk from its own dairy herd. Recently, they expanded their line to include buttermilk, Greek yogurt, cheesecake and gelato.
No new products are planned for now, but Randles expects the new facility to allow them to make products more consistently.
It will also increase staff from 10 employees to 17, working one-and-a-half shifts six days a week.
Argyle Cheese Farmer was established in 2007. The farm itself has been in business for 150 years. It was a career change for both Dave and Marge Randles.
“A tax accountant and a dairy farmer turned into cheesemakers,” said Randles.
Her brother-in-law, Will Randles, runs the dairy operation.
While supportive of their parents’ enterprise, none of their four children are likely to join the business. “They are very successful at what they do,” Randles said, “and they see how hard we work.”
Argyle Cheese Farmer is a fixture at the Troy, Saratoga Springs, and Glens Falls farmers’ markets and some area specialty food stores such as Whole Foods. However, Randles estimated that 60 percent of their sales are through distributors and wholesalers, including a distributor in New York City where their products are on restaurant and coffee shop menus.