Meat and cheese maker undergoes $2.2M expansion in Kawkawlin

A ship just departed a German dockyard. Among its cargo is a special meat smoker, destined for Kawkawlin, Michigan.

It’s hoped the smoker will traverse the Atlantic Ocean and arrive at its intended destination by the end of February — just in time for the expected opening of the new location for Tri-City Cheese & Meats, which owns the popular Troll Smokehouse brand of smoked meats and cheeses.

First opened in 2005, Troll Smokehouse has been steadily gaining in popularity, and especially in the past five years, says Lennie Mondeau, vice president of the company. Troll Smokehouse products can now be found in select markets throughout the Great Lake states, and even in some of the bigger markets such as Chicago.

The family-owned business is building a $2.2 million facility in Kawkawlin.That’s why Troll Smokehouse is undergoing a massive expansion, building a new $2.2 million 8,600-square-foot facility in Kawkawlin. It’s a significant upgrade from its current 1,200-square-foot space, allowing the company to add new equipment and expand its product line. Leaders hope to open by March.

The expansion will result in 12 to 20 new jobs for the region.

“Small business is the backbone of any local economy. It’s where at least 80% of our local jobs come from. Troll Smokehouse and Bay County are no exception to that rule and the Collins/Mondeau family have definite backbone,” says Trevor Keyes, president and CEO of Bay Future Inc.

“We have worked closely with them for years to make this expansion a reality, with partners from state agencies like the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the MEDC, as well as local partners from the financial industry and Great Lakes Bay MI Works! along with the Kawkawlin Board of Trustees.

“This has been a communal effort for this industrious and driven family business.”

Mondeau credits high quality spices and meats for the brand’s growth, the latter of which comes directly from Coldwater, Michigan. “And everyone gets a kick out of the label, with a little troll under the Mackinac Bridge,” he says.

“Troll Smokehouse has grown so much,” says Connie Collins, founder and co-owner.

“Sales are up and the current facilities couldn’t accommodate growth, so we had to build this new building.”

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