As a kid, packaging operator Karen Robitsch remembers coming to the Cheese Factory with her family, being treated to an ice cream cone and heading upstairs to watch her mom, packaging operator Doris Clark, work.
For Doris, who retired in 2000, the 25 years she spent working on the line in packaging hold a lot of wonderful memories. While it was the good pay and benefits that drew her to the job, it was her co-workers, who were like a tight-knit family, that kept her.
In the late 70’s Tillamook Cheese was still dipped in wax and hand wrapped – very different from how Karen, who has worked here since 2005, works. Technology and advances in packaging materials have led to more automation.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the pride both women feel when talking about their jobs and products we make. Doris says she was always so proud to work at Tillamook. She would proudly wear her whites into the grocery store after work; “when you are in whites, everyone knew exactly where you worked,” she said.
Karen says she liked telling people she’s from Tillamook, Oregon when she is out of town. She says people always say “Oh, like the cheese.” And she gets to say “Yes! That’s where I work!”
The tradition of getting a cone and watching the packaging line run from the windows has now shifted. It’s Doris who comes in, often with her great-grandchildren, to watch Karen work.
Karen is happy to be following in her mom’s footsteps and thinks that matching her mom’s 25 years on the line is a possibility. Doris says that “I knew Karen would be happy here. I’m happy for her.”