Petaluma Creamery listed for sale – then the listing was taken down
A major local landmark – and huge chunk of west Petaluma real estate – was on the market until the owner found out about the listing.
Petaluma Creamery, an important part of the local agricultural community for more than a century, had been for sale, according to an online listing by Touchstone Commercial Partners.
But when Larry Peter, a local dairy farmer who has owned the Petaluma Creamery since 2004, learned about the listing on Monday, he told the Argus-Courier, “I’ve never listed the Petaluma Creamery for sale.”
The listing agent, he said, “should have never have put it on.”
Touchstone even created a glossy flier trumpeting the property as “for sale” and featuring photos and highlights of the creamery. A pdf of the flier was still available online as of Monday evening.
The listing, which was online Monday morning but taken down by Monday afternoon, described Petaluma Creamery as “a fully operational manufacturing facility for all dairy products.”
“In addition to the purchase of the real estate, buyers are provided the opportunity to purchase the operating creamery business, Spring Hill Cheese,” it read.
Reached briefly by phone on Monday morning, listing agent Ryan Gallagher said its purchase price would depend on “whether it’s a business or real estate” transaction – meaning whether the buyer is planning to run the preexisting dairy creamery, or if they’re a developer hoping to build new housing and commercial space in the heart of west Petaluma.
Gallagher said the listing had been up for about a month. Peter, who acknowledged the property could be sold for the right price, said he had not received any offers.
“I just found out today” about the listing, he told the Argus-Courier.
The property, as previously listed, includes parcels at 525, 611 and 711 Western Ave., encompassing “an office and testing lab, the manufacturing facility, and a warehouse/storage facility with attached retail/cafe space” – all on 3.8 acres of land.
The facility offers more than 60,000 square feet of industrial space at 611 Western Ave. and more than 20,000 square feet of space at 711 Western Ave. Special features include on-site water treatment and a 20,000-square-foot temperature-controlled storage room, according to the listing.
“At full capacity, the Creamery will employee approximately 100 full-time positions and can produce up to 100,000 pounds of cheese daily,” the listing read.
Spring Hill Jersey Cheese, available at local and national retailers, produces and packages all its cheese at Petaluma Creamery, utilizing milk from 10 local dairy farmers, according to the now-removed listing. Petaluma Cheese and Petaluma Gold Ice Cream also are produced there.
The well-known Petaluma Creamery Ice Cream & Cheese Shop – a cafe retail space at 711 Western Ave. – sells not only cheese products but ice cream, coffee, baked goods and other items.
The historic creamery faced an existential threat in early 2021 after Petaluma city officials said the company owed more than $1.8 million in fees and fines from years of wastewater violations. City Manager Peggy Flynn said the city would place a lien on the property and cut off access to city wastewater if the business did not pay up by a certain deadline.
Peter avoided that fate by writing the city a check for $800,000 and ultimately paying close to $1.2 million. But more than half a million in fees and fines remained until a deal was struck in March 2021.
More recently, production has slowed at the facility, Peter said, which he blamed on bad press. But he also said he’s been putting money into the creamery and expects business to ramp up again.